NPR: Since May 2021, people living in counties that voted heavily for Donald Trump during the last presidential election have been nearly three times as likely to die from COVID-19 as those who live in areas that went for now-President Biden.
That’s according to a new analysis by NPR that examines how political polarization and misinformation are driving a significant share of the deaths in the pandemic.
Link to searchable database here
NPR looked at deaths per 100,000 people in roughly 3,000 counties across the U.S. from May 2021, the point at which vaccinations widely became available.
People living in counties that went 60% or higher for Trump in November 2020 had 2.7 times the death rates of those that went for Biden. Counties with an even higher share of the vote for Trump saw higher COVID-19 mortality rates.
In October, the reddest tenth of the country saw death rates that were six times higher than the bluest tenth, according to Charles Gaba, an independent health care analyst who’s been tracking partisanship trends during the pandemic and helped to review NPR’s methodology. Those numbers have dropped slightly in recent weeks, Gaba says: “It’s back down to around 5.5 times higher.”
The trend was robust, even when controlling for age, which is the primary demographic risk of COVID-19 mortality. The data also reveal a major contributing factor to the death rate difference: The higher the vote share for Trump, the lower the vaccination rate. Read more…