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Misinformation Is the True Cause Behind Highest COVID Rates In Pro-Trump Counties

Misinformation Is the True Cause Behind Highest COVID Rates In Pro-Trump Counties

A new report from NPR shows 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.

NPR tracked deaths per 100,000 people in roughly 3,000 counties across the U.S. beginning in 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.

WILMINGTON, DELAWARE – JANUARY 16: U.S. President-elect Joe Biden speaks during an announcement January 16, 2021 at the Queen theater in Wilmington, Delaware. President-elect Joe Biden has announced key members of his incoming White House science team. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump speaks during a retreat with Republican lawmakers at Camp David in Thurmont, Maryland, on January 6, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

The voting trend was undeniable, even when NPR used controls 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.

Between the end of June and October, the reddest areas comprising one-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 political trends during the pandemic. NPR reports that after reviewing their methodology, Gaba says those numbers had dropped slightly in recent weeks, but now “it’s back down to around 5.5 times higher.”

See Also

Recent polling data show Republicans are now the largest group of unvaccinated individuals in the United States, more than any other single demographic group. Polling also shows that mistrust in official sources of information and exposure to misinformation, about both COVID-19 and the vaccines, run high among Republicans.

Read NPR’s full profile here.

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