New NPR analysis reveals that as of May of this year, people living in counties who voted for Donald Trump are almost three times more likely to die from Covid-19 than those living in counties won by Joe Biden.
NPR released its findings on Sunday after examining the number of deaths per 100,000 people in nearly 3,000 U.S. counties since May 2021, when vaccines became widely available. They found a disturbing trend: counties that voted for Trump with a majority of 60% or more had 2.7 times the death rate than counties won by Biden. Part of this data can be explained by another troubling finding: Higher margins of victory for Trump correlate with lower vaccination rates. Even controlling for age, a risk factor for death from Covid, residents of Trump County were still more likely to die from the virus than residents of counties supporting Biden.
Over the past six months, those numbers have at times been even worse, according to Charles Gaba, an independent healthcare analyst who assisted NPR with the project. As of October, Gaba found, the ten percent of counties with the highest voting rates for Trump had death rates almost six times higher than the wealthiest ten percent in Biden counties. Now, said Gaba, that rate has “come down to about 5.5 times that”.
Another reason for the gap is the stark difference between Republican and Democratic vaccination rates. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, “Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, who make up 41% of adults, now represent 60% of the unvaccinated adult population across the country. In fact, the foundation found, political partisanship was the best predictor of a person’s immunization status. As of December 2, Kaiser found, 91% of Democrats are vaccinated with at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, while only 59% of Republicans are.
This information, while disturbing, should come as no surprise to anyone who has paid attention to the GOP. Many Republicans and Fox News conservatives have fully embraced vaccine misinformation while downplaying the risks of the virus – such as Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Who told One America News Saturday, “The best vaccine we’ve found is Mother Nature’s vaccine. He contracts the virus. This is not the case, according to the findings of the CDC. Gaetz also refused to disclose his vaccination status.
Exposure to this kind of misinformation increases the likelihood that a person is hesitant to get the vaccine. An October preprinted study conducted by a researcher at the University of South Florida found that people in Florida who said they heard misinformation about vaccines were less likely to be vaccinated than people who did not. ‘had not been exposed to misinformation in the past six months. The more false information they heard, the less likely they were to get the vaccine.