Covid Gets Even Redder – The New York Times


As 2020 drew to a close, there was good reason to believe that the death toll during the first year of the pandemic could have been worse in red America. There was also good reason to think that it could have been worse in blue America.

Conservative areas tend to be older, less prosperous, and more hostile to wearing masks, all of which can exacerbate the spread or severity of Covid-19. Liberal areas, meanwhile, are home to busier and more American international airports that suffer the health consequences of racial discrimination.

But it turned out that these differences largely offset each other in 2020, or maybe they didn’t matter as much as some people assumed. Either way, the per capita death toll in Blue America and Red America was similar in the final weeks of 2020.

It was only a few percentage points higher in counties where Donald Trump had won at least 60 percent of the vote than in counties where Joe Biden crossed that threshold. In counties where neither candidate won 60 percent, the death toll was higher than in Trump or Biden counties. There just wasn’t a strong partisan pattern at Covid during the first year it was circulating in the US.

Then came the vaccines.

They proved so powerful, and partisan attitudes towards them so different, that a gap in the Covid death toll quickly emerged. I’ve covered that gap in two newsletters: one this summer, one last month – and today’s newsletter provides an update.

The short version: The gap in the Covid death toll between the red and blue United States has grown faster over the past month than at any time before.

In October, 25 out of 100,000 residents of the counties with the highest Trump presence died from Covid, more than three times the rate in the counties with the highest incidence of Biden (7.8 per 100,000). October was the fifth month in a row that the percentage gap between death rates widened in Trump counties and Biden counties.

Some conservative writers have attempted to claim that the gap may be due to regional differences in climate or age, but those arguments crumble under scrutiny. (If weather or age were a major reason, the pattern would have started showing up last year.) The real explanation is simple: vaccines are very effective in preventing severe Covid, and nearly 40 percent of Republican adults. stay unvaccinated, compared to about 10 percent of adult Democrats.

Charles Gaba, a Democratic health analyst, has he pointed that the gap is also evident in finer gradations of political analysis: Counties where Trump received at least 70 percent of the vote have an even higher average number of Covid deaths than counties where Trump won at least 60 percent. hundred.

As a result, Covid deaths have been concentrated in counties outside of major metropolitan areas. Many of these are in red states, while others are in red parts of blue or purple states, such as Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Virginia, and even California.

This situation is a tragedy, in which irrational fears about the side effects of vaccines have outweighed rational fears about a deadly virus. It stems from disinformation, promoted by right-wing media outlets, such as Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News, Sinclair Broadcast Group, and online sources, that takes advantage of mistrust resulting from stagnant living standards.

The future of Covid is uncertain, but I think it is possible that the partisan gap in Covid deaths peaked last month. There are two main reasons to expect the gap to narrow soon.

One, new antiviral treatments from Pfizer and Merck seems likely to reduce Covid deaths everywhere, and especially where they are most common. These treatments, along with vaccines, can eventually turn this coronavirus into a more manageable virus.

Two, Red America has probably developed a more natural immunity against Covid, from past infections, than Blue America, because hostility to vaccination and social distancing has caused the virus to spread more widely. A buildup of natural immunity may be one reason the partisan gap in new Covid cases has narrowed recently.

Death trends tend to lag a few weeks behind case trends, suggesting that the gap in deaths will narrow in November.

Still, no one knows what will happen next. Much of the recent decline in the number of cases mysterious, which means it may not last. And immunity from vaccination seems to be stronger than immunity to infection, which means conservative Americans will likely continue to suffer an inordinate amount of unnecessary illness and death.

More about the virus:

  • Starting today, international travelers you can enter the U.S. with proof of vaccination and negative Covid test.

  • Housing advocates expected an eviction crisis to hit the United States like a tsunami. Instead of, is developing slowly, especially in places with few tenant protections.

  • Romania, where religious figures have promoted misinformation against vaccines, has the highest Covid death rate in the world.

  • After a woman died with Covid for a long time, her family feared her organs. it was not safe to donate. He points out gaps in the protocols for organ donation during the pandemic.

  • Covid is worse for men on average than it is for women, and vaccination rates don’t explain the difference. What could?

Marian Anderson marked her place in American history when she performed on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1939. A new box of her recordings, which spans from 1924 to 1966, offers a view of your career Beyond his best known performance, Anthony Tommasini writes for The Times.

The Lincoln Memorial concert was an important moment for civil rights. After the Daughters of the American Revolution banned Anderson from performing at Constitution Hall because she was black, federal officials offered her the new venue. On her alto, the lowest range for a female voice, she sang to a crowd of 75,000 and millions more on the radio.

Anderson performed throughout Europe, earning the adoration of the crowd, and of the famous director Arturo Toscanini, who said he possessed a voice that is heard “once in a hundred years.” After returning to the United States, her recordings and tours enriched her, although segregation forced her to live as a second-class citizen.

In The New Yorker, Alex Ross highlight a featured track from the new collection: the Easter hymn “Crucifixion”, which in 1935 left the Salzberg audience in “an instinctive, natural and intense silence, so that you were afraid to breathe”.– Claire Moses, morning writer

The pangram for Friday’s spelling bee was dug up. Here’s today’s puzzle, or you can play online.


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