Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses the politics of COVID.
DeSantis was elected governor in 2018 with a margin of victory of just 0.4 percent, or 32,000 votes. Florida’s official COVID death count is now 39,695, a chilling reminder about the public health impact of DeSantis’ policies, and the fact that politics is about addition, not subtraction.
It’s well-known, by this point, that the Delta variant is currently hitting Republican states and counties the hardest. In the South especially, vaccination rates are low and mask use has typically been spotty, resulting in skyrocketing case and hospitalization numbers in several states.
But the picture on mortality has been less clear. Deaths lag behind hospitalizations, so the former have been slower to rise than the latter. Covid treatment has also improved since the early days of the pandemic, boosting patients’ odds of survival. And senior citizens, the group most vulnerable to the virus, have high rates of vaccination relative to other age groups.
But several months into the Delta wave and the data are clear: over the past month, people living in the most staunchly Republican counties have been three times more likely to die of Covid than those living in Democratic strongholds. While the disease doesn’t make political distinctions, Republican attitudes, conspiracy theories and policy failures have created conditions in which the Delta variant can thrive.
New on the Why Axis: August mortality data show how GOP Covid policy is killing GOP voters pic.twitter.com/QlYllzCtUL— Christopher Ingraham (@_cingraham) August 31, 2021