Even with widely available vaccines and newly effective treatments, residents of counties that went heavily for Donald Trump in the last presidential election are more than twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than those that live in areas that went for President Biden. That’s according to a newly-updated analysis from NPR, examining how partisanship and misinformation are shaping the pandemic.
NPR examined COVID deaths per 100,000 people in roughly 3,000 counties across the U.S. from May 2021, the point at which most Americans could find a vaccine if they wanted one. Those living in counties that voted 60% or higher for Trump in November 2020 had 2.26 times the death rate of those that went by the same margin for Biden. Counties with a higher share of Trump votes had even higher mortality rates.
“How you vote should not predict whether you die of COVID,” says Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at Brown University School of Public Health. The social causes of the divide are complex, but the immediate reason is dead simple: Trump-leaning counties have far lower vaccination rates than those that went for President Biden. NPR’s analysis showed that the gap was 21 points, with 81% of adults vaccinated in heavily-Biden counties compared to 60% of adults in counties that went for Trump.
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