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Trumpism Correlates with 53,000 Additional, Preventable Deaths in Reddest 10% of America

An eager reader points out this interesting graph created by healthcare policy analyst Charles Gaba comparing cumulative coronavirus death rates over the last two years in the 10% of counties that voted most strongly for Joe Biden in 2020 and the 10% that voted for the loser:

Charles Gaba, Twitter chart, 2022.03.16.
Charles Gaba, Twitter chart, 2022.03.16.

The strongest Biden counties saw the highest rates of covid deaths at the beginning of the pandemic, in April and May 2020. Deaths in those counties have never matched that initial pace, not in the winter 2020–2021 surge, and not through either the Delta wave toward the end of last summer nor the omicron wave.

Meanwhile, in the strongest Trump counties, coronavirus appears to have started very slowly, with cumulative death rates at the end of May 2020 only an eighth of what the strongest Biden counties saw. But right after mid-July 2020, covid deaths in Trumpland steadily accelerated to the point that the Trump counties’ covid death rate exceeded that of the strongest Biden counties on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2021.

Death rates in both sets of counties decelerated as vaccine rates rose, but death rates in Biden counties got much closer to flat in summer 2021 than they did in Trump counties. The reäcceleration with the delta wave at the end of August was far more pronounced in the Trump counties. The omicron surge in January looks more pronounced on the blue Biden line only because the red Trump death line was already so steep from delta that, apparently, Trump voters couldn’t die any faster. Over the last ten weeks, the Trump counties have added six deaths per week per 100,000 population, while the Biden counties added deaths at a bit more than half that rate.

Or look at the big picture: by January 20, 2021, ten months into the pandemic, both sets of counties had reached 140 covid deaths per 100,000 population. They had taken very different paths to get there, but there they were, in the same bad straits. The only difference was that the Biden counties’ death rate would decelerate while the Trump counties’s death rate would accelerate. In the fourteen months since that crossover, the Biden counties have racked up 100 more deaths per 100,000 population, while the Trump counties have racked up 260.

Over the last fourteen months, covid has killed people in the strongest Trump counties 2.6 times faster than it has in the strongest Biden counties. Multiply that rate by the 33.1 million population in each of those tenths, and we can contend that, if the strongest Biden counties had vaccinated and boosted and masked and socially distanced and taken other precautions to the same extent as the strongest Biden counties, 53,000 more Americans would not have died of coronavirus.


  1. Arlo Blundt 2022-03-17 14:44

    Trump counties got a slow start as there are many smaller rural counties among them….less crowd contact…took awhile for Covid to gain a critical mass of infectees.

  2. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-03-17 15:20

    Arlo, that fits with other observations: the main risk factor in the cities was density, but once covid got to the rural areas, it found populations more susceptible due to age and meat processing plants.

    Is it possible that once covid took hold in the rural Trump areas as firmly as it did in urban Biden areas, those rural Trumpers were simply doomed to see people dying faster, even if they took the same precautions as urban areas?

  3. Arlo Blundt 2022-03-17 16:05

    cory…the rub is Rural Residents DIDN’t take the same precautions as urban folks…just reading the “locals” in my local paper, church suppers, family gatherings, crowds at ball games all continued as before…They contrived density especially during winter months…plus they are older, sicker and with less robust health care.

  4. Mark Anderson 2022-03-17 17:37

    They still are dying, and proud of it. With leaders like DeSantis, Noem and Abbott, what can you expect?

  5. RST Tribal Member 2022-03-18 08:00

    Interesting take on the killer virus. People who prescribe to a certain leadership style and words prove what is said, when it is said, how it is said, where it is said, and what has been heard matters in life; a listener’s life.

    Too many lose their lives since January 2020. Those lost lives proved the point that words mattered. Could those deaths have been prevented or minimized? Not after 45 came down from a high at his tower throne to tell those with tendencies of racism, privilege, or not happy with their lot in life to listen to his words of discontent and manipulation. The 160-character propaganda came at people every day, all day, first by 45, then by the creating news media. Just thinking, I don’t use any social media other than Facebook and professional interactive media and would not have been exposed to the buffalo crap the tiny thumbs of 45 was dropping on people had the creating news media not exposed me.

    Then South Dakota’s world turned upside down in 2018 when 45 grabbed Nomie girl for the governorship. South Dakotans have a chance to correct that mistake in November 2022, maybe the inept inbred republicans will rid the state of her goofiness at their convention, doubt it, but surprises are welcomed.

    If 45 followed his advice or wasn’t the head of the most powerful nation on earth, he would be a footnote in school, college, or scholarly papers today. But he was saved. But not for his stupidity but for the position held then, he was spared. Today, if the virus attaches itself to him, it will be a different outcome. He would be another notch on the red line going north on the chart.

    Noemie girl told us in SD I cannot help, you figure it out. Most in SD did, but too many did not. Even the death of an elder in a nursing home was a political point to be made by the dimwit.

    The world is working to reduce the virus to a manageable health condition. Many of us have been vaccinated and boosted. Gee my hands have never been this clean, I scream when my hands go towards my face nowadays, and no one gets to smell my breath but me (thanks for mints). Many of us will be able to tell our grandchildren and great-grandchildren how we survived the pandemic of 2020-2023 by listening to sound medical advice. We will tell how others followed their political leaders to the grave. Lessons learned; lives saved, as the chart shows.

  6. John 2022-03-18 08:38

    It’s as if Darwinsim is running wild . . . the red state governors killing their own voters. Er, spreading freedum among their own voters.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-03-18 09:46

    53,000 preventable deaths—that’s an awful sacrifice for a campaign slogan and a false reading of “Freedom”.

    Will higher death rates contribute to any immediate changes in election outcomes? Or will the factors that have caused those excess deaths in Trumpist areas also lead to an exodus of remaining rational voters and citizens that will balance the redneck deaths and leave the proportions of voters and their Electoral College picks the same?

  8. RST Tribal Member 2022-03-18 10:02

    Cory you comment rings true to the smart and aware.

    Unfortunately, there are not many in the state of SD who are able to understand or comprehend as the inept inbred Republicans have dumbed down the education system so only the brightest are able to escape. The rest stick around to vote R not really understanding the outcome unless it is gun ranges, RV parks and ignoring history legislation.

  9. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-03-18 11:36

    RST, yes, lack of education does seem to play into the Republican agenda… until it starts killing off the base.

  10. grudznick 2022-03-18 12:25

    You libbie fellows seem to have built an echo chamber.

  11. mike from iowa 2022-03-18 12:37

    Magats are the party of deaf, dumb and blind brown nosers.

  12. Dakota roots 2022-03-18 14:57

    Same applies to rise in crime, red states rule.

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