Study: More Republicans Than Democrats Died of COVID

New research strongly suggests that many more of those “excess deaths” in Ohio and Florida were among people with Republican voter registrations.  

It’s perhaps unsurprising that Republicans were more reluctant to get vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, which has so far killed more than 1 million in the United States and more than 6.5 million worldwide. A Cornell University study found that former President Donald Trump was the “single largest driver” of misinformation about the disease and research by European economists indicated that watching a lot of Fox News correlated with vaccine hesitancy.

A paper published Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research puts some numbers to the relationship between voting Republican and dying of COVID — most likely because lower rates of Republicans got vaccines once they became widely available.  In it, three Yale University researchers selected Ohio and Florida and took a look at “excess deaths” — the number of deaths in a given time period that is in excess of the number that was expected. While no single death in that measure can be attributed to a given cause, it’s safe to assume that in a deadly global pandemic, a spike in the number of excess deaths is largely attributable to the disease.

“In 2018 and the early parts of 2020, excess death rates for Republicans and Democrats are similar, and centered around zero,” wrote the researchers, Jacob Wallace, Jason L. Schwartz and Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham. “Both groups experienced a similar large spike in excess deaths in the winter of 2020-2021. However, in the summer of 2021 — after vaccines were widely available — the Republican excess death rate rose to nearly double that of Democrats, and this gap widened further in the winter of 2021.”

A paper published last month in JAMA Internal Medicine said that the unvaccinated are 10.5 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID. The unboosted are 2.5 times more likely, it said.

The Yale researchers said the partisan divergence in excess deaths after vaccines became available is likely attributable to vaccination rates.

The research comes after researchers at the Brown University School of Public Health in May estimated that 318,000 — or about a third — of the COVID deaths in the United States were preventable.

Florida had the second-most vaccine-preventable deaths, 29,200, and the 13th-highest rate, 1,694 per million residents, that analysis said. Ohio had the fourth-most, 15,875, and the ninth-highest rate, 1,742 per million people, it said.

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