Americans in counties that voted heavily for Donald Trump in 2020 were 2.26 times more more likely to die of COVID-19 than in counties that voted for Joe Biden, based on a latest evaluation of information.
The additional toll in Republican counties is critical, especially provided that a million people have now died of COVID-19 within the U.S.
National Public Radio examined deaths from COVID-19 per 100,000 people in roughly 3,000 counties across the country from May 2021, a time when most Americans could obtain vaccines. Those living in counties that voted 60% or higher for Trump in 2020 had 2.26 times the death rate of counties that voted in comparable percentages for Biden, NPR reported.
Counties with the next share of Trump votes had even higher mortality rates.
While COVID-19 death rates in regions are affected by several aspects, including things like wealth and access to health care, death rates closely followed rates of vaccinations, which Republican lawmakers, activists and media personalities often railed against. Not only did they urge people to not get the vaccine, but often spread frightening disinformation concerning the vaccines.
Based on an evaluation released by Brown University this month, nearly 320,000 lives nationwide might have been saved if more people had chosen to get vaccinated.
And political affiliation continues to be the largest predictor of vaccination status, based on the non-partisan think tank the Kaiser Family Foundation. Within the NPR study, 81% of adults were vaccinated within the counties that went strongly for Biden, in comparison with 60% of adults in counties that went for Trump.
The Brown study found that states that went most heavily for Trump – including West Virginia and Wyoming – had among the many highest rates of preventable deaths. States that voted heavily for Biden – reminiscent of Massachusetts and Vermont – had among the many lowest.
Democratic areas initially suffered a few of the highest death rates from the pandemic because COVID-19 first hit hardest in major metropolitan areas. But Republican areas surpassed those death rates once vaccines became available and residents there opted to not get them.
Many COVID-19 deaths occurred in 2020 before vaccines were available. But half of the deaths after that would have been averted if all adults in an area were vaccinated, based on the Brown study.
After the beginnings of the pandemic, which hit cities hardest, statistics gathered in various studies have consistently demonstrated significantly higher COVID-19 cases and death rates in Republican areas over Democratic areas.
Some researchers predict the discrepancy will lessen over time with larger numbers surviving the disease, decreasing their possibilities of death from subsequent bouts.
But Harvard University epidemiologist William Hange fears that politicians could proceed to make use of vaccinations as a “wedge” issue for political gain, and will next goal all vaccinations and seriously undermine American health.
“It’s a part of the long-term damage that happens when you might have politicians relentlessly attempting to denigrate it and switch it right into a political football,” he told NPR.