An analysis of red and blue states, and red and blue counties, indicates liberal areas were more affected by the Covid-19 virus than conservatives ones. The survey is an interesting insight into local policies and how areas of the nation responded.
A Reuters analysis found that Democratic areas experienced three times the number of coronavirus-related deaths that Republican areas did. Counties that voted for 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton reported 39 coronavirus deaths per 100,000 residents. Counties that voted for Republican Donald Trump, on the other hand, had 13 deaths per 100,000 people.
The death rate in Washington state is four times higher than in the conservative counties in the Appalachian panhandle, the analysis also found. The two counties in Kansas that backed Clinton in 2016 had a death rate seven times higher than the rest of the state, according to Reuters. Kansas has reported 152 fatalities in all.
New York also backed Clinton and later became the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S. Like many of the hardest-hit areas, New York City is densely populated, which made transmission of the virus more widespread and rapid.
Rural areas tend to align with the GOP and often do not have high-traffic public areas like public transit, mega box stores or apartment buildings.
In Michigan, counties that backed Clinton reported 79 Covid-19 deaths per 100,000 people while counties that backed Trump reported 25 per 100,000. At a national level, 36 of 50 U.S. states reported higher death rates in Democratic counties than Republican counties.
The exceptions to this trend according to Reuters were Delaware, Nebraska and South Dakota, where workers at meatpacking plants were infected with the virus. Reuters also reported that Republican counties in Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota and Texas were hit hard as well, though their rates remained below the national average. Outbreaks in Montana and North Dakota can be traced to wealthy New York and California residents who returned to their vacation homes in those states.
The disparate impact of coronavirus in Republican areas could partially be reflected in the beliefs residents hold about the virus. While Democrats were “very concerned” about the virus, only one-third of Republicans reported similarly, according to a Reuters/Ipsos survey from Monday.
Republicans are also more in favor of lifting restrictions that were implemented to slow the spread of the virus.
Many states with Republican leadership have begun reopening businesses, often at limited capacities, while some hard-hit Democratic areas have remained cautious about reopening. Likewise, Democrats in television interviews were more willing to give up constitutional rights than were Republicans.
Florida, where Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis allowed gyms to begin reopening Monday, was among the southern states to receive criticism for its reopening efforts. News reporters speculated that Florida could lead the nation in new cases, even surpassing New York, because of the re-opening. It didn’t happen.
DeSantis unleashed on the media for its criticism of the state’s Covid-19 pandemic response, explaining how the media “waxed poetically for weeks and weeks about how Florida was going to be just like New York,” predictions he claimed were false.