In a bit of news that will not do anything to reduce the political polarization in America, Reuters found that the death rates from COVID-19 are three times higher in Democratic areas than Republican areas.
So far, U.S. counties that voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election reported 39 coronavirus deaths per 100,000 residents, according to an analysis of demographic and public health data, whereas those that voted for Republican Donald Trump, reported just 13 such deaths for every 100,000 people.
A closer look shows that the split is not so much along party lines as it is along population density lines, which often are the same thing. High-density areas like New York City tend to lean Democrat, while rural areas and less populated cities tend to lean Republican. Population density increases the potential spread of the virus.
In Maryland, where the disease has killed more than 2,000 people, the death rate in the Democratic suburbs of Washington is four times higher than in the conservative counties in the Appalachian panhandle.
There are exceptions. Republican counties report a higher death rate in Delaware, Nebraska and South Dakota, where the disease has raced through meatpacking plants. Republican counties have been harder hit in Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota and Texas, where rates are well below the national average.
The difference in fatality rates appears to be driving a difference in how people view the disease.
A Reuters/Ipsos survey of 1,115 U.S. adults conducted Monday and Tuesday found nearly half of Democrats were “very concerned” about the virus, compared with one-third of Republicans, who are more likely to want to lift economic and social restrictions.
Republican pollster Steve Mitchell said voters in the state were sharply split along partisan lines. Democrats are afraid they will catch the disease, while Republicans worry more about the economic damage from nationwide shutdowns that sent unemployment soaring.
“They are not seeing a high caseload in their area and they’re wondering why they’re being treated the same as the city of Detroit.”
It’s a fair question… and it’s likely that your answer can be predicted by your politics.