As the COVID-19 pandemic is in its third year in the United States, an unfortunate reason it has stuck around so long has been due to those engaging in partisan politics debating its existence and refusing to take the vaccines and other measures. Now that divide is represented in a new phenomenon – “red Covid”.
In a detailed report from the New York Times, there is a noticeable disparity between those who identify as Republican voters and those who identify as Democrat voters who opted to get the COVID-19 vaccination shots. This gap, which at one point in a poll last October showed that 86 percent of Democratic voters got at least one shot as opposed to 60 percent of Republican voters, seems to be narrowing but only slightly. And the highly polarizing rhetoric that’s been broadcast by right-wing outlets such as Fox News and politicians like former president Donald Trump making false claims about COVID and the vaccine has been a prime culprit in people not wanting to get their vaccinations, which has led to high outbreaks of the coronavirus – and hospitalizations and deaths – in heavily Republican counties in the nation.
There are signs that natural immunity seems to have developed in these areas that voted for Trump in the last election as the current Omicron variant of the virus is still rampant, which has made a slight dent in the number of deaths due to the coronavirus as opposed to those in blue areas. However, the amount of needless deaths of those who chose to remain unvaccinated in those red counties is still as high as those who forsake the vaccine in blue areas.
While all 50 states have at least partially vaccinated half of their population as late as earlier this month according to the Center For Disease Control, the ten states with the lowest partial vaccination rates in the country are states with voters that went for Trump in the 2020 election – with the exception of Georgia. This data point is troubling as those counties that are staunchly Republican have a good share of people who are over 65 years of age who are highly susceptible to the virus, and there were 135,000 who died needlessly in the last six months of 2021 according to research done at the Harvard University Medical School.