Healthcare

People in pro-Trump areas nearly three times more likely to die from COVID-19: NPR analysis

People living in counties that voted for former President Trump in the last presidential election are nearly three times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those who live in counties that voted for President Biden, according to an analysis conducted by NPR.

For its analysis, NPR looked at about 3,000 U.S. counties and the deaths per 100,000 people since May 1, 2021. The news organization found that individuals living in counties that voted for Trump by at least 60 percent had 2.7 times the death rate of counties that voted for Biden at the same clip. 

Counties that went to Trump by a higher percentage had higher COVID-19 mortality rates and lower vaccination rates, with the rates lowering as Trump's vote share increases. 

The analysis focused on the vaccination rates among people over the age of 18 as of Nov. 30. Alaska, Hawaii and Nebraska were excluded from NPR's analysis, as they either do not report election results by county or do not report county-level vaccine data.

Similar data has been released from other organizations, including a survey published by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) in September that found counties that voted for Trump had vaccination rates more than 10 percent lower than counties that voted for Biden.

Liz Hamel, KFF's vice president of public opinion and survey research, told NPR that political affiliation is now the strongest indicator of someone's vaccination status.

"An unvaccinated person is three times as likely to lean Republican as they are to lean Democrat," said Hamel. "If I wanted to guess if somebody was vaccinated or not and I could only know one thing about them, I would probably ask what their party affiliation is."

NPR noted that while vaccine hesitancy was more spread out across different demographics earlier in the pandemic - African Americans, younger people and those who live in rural areas - the vaccination rates have since risen for most of those groups.

However, the vaccination rate among Republicans has stagnated at around 59 percent, while an estimated 91 percent of Democrats are now immunized.

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