The partisan divide in the USA all through the COVID-19 pandemic stretched past variations in attitudes about masking, social distancing and vaccines. Based on a brand new examine led by a College of Maryland researcher, it is also tied to a transparent distinction in mortality charges from the virus.
Within the examine, printed at the moment in Well being Affairs, Neil Jay Sehgal, assistant professor of well being coverage and administration in UMD’s Faculty of Public Well being, and co-authors from UMD and the College of California, Irvine Program in Public Well being in contrast the variety of COVID-19 deaths by October 2021 with counties’ voting conduct within the 2020 presidential election. Their evaluation managed for different traits more likely to affect COVID-19 transmission and mortality akin to age, race/ethnicity, persistent illness and entry to well being care.
They discovered that Republican counties (the place 70% or extra voted Republican) skilled practically 73 extra COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 individuals in comparison with Democratic counties (the place lower than 30% voted Republican).
“Individuals dwelling in states and counties with extra conservative voters are dying at increased charges from a largely preventable illness,” Sehgal mentioned. “COVID-19 vaccine uptake solely defined 10% of the distinction in mortality between pink and blue counties. The vaccine-only method to public well being is not doing sufficient to fight the continued toll we’re paying.”
The disparity in mortality charges between Republican and Democratic counties was due largely to structural, coverage and behavioral variations within the extra conservative counties.
“Voting behaviors on the county stage are more likely to signify the compliance or lack of compliance with masks mandates, vaccine uptake and use of different protecting insurance policies to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic,” mentioned senior creator Dylan Roby, affiliate professor of well being, society and conduct within the UC Irvine Program in Public Well being.
Since the USA surpassed 1 million deaths from COVID-19 earlier this spring and an infection charges are up in lots of states, these insurance policies may assist stop infections and cut back the possibility of significant outcomes amongst those that do get contaminated, together with dying or the lingering signs often known as lengthy COVID, which can have an effect on as many as 30% of people that have been contaminated.
“The affect of partisanship would not solely affect individuals of 1 political stripe,” Sehgal mentioned. “Not everybody who lives in a Republican county votes Republican. In only a few of those counties was there 70% or higher vote share. Even within the reddest counties, you will have individuals who aren’t capable of vote or aren’t capable of depart, and but are topic to the insurance policies and behaviors that encompass them. If they’re older, immunocompromised or a necessary employee, that places them at higher danger of dying or incapacity.”
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The Affiliation Between COVID-19 Mortality And The County-Degree Partisan Divide In The USA, Well being Affairs (2022).
Pandemic politics: Individuals in Republican counties have been extra more likely to die from COVID-19, new evaluation exhibits (2022, June 6)
retrieved 6 June 2022
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