COVID and the Red States

First some slightly bad news for the red states: The COVID-19 death rate has increased significantly in many states. However, the death rate in even the worst-affected red states is still well below that of most of their progressive counterparts that remained closed (Graph 1), so CDC following recommendations to “roll back” the opening of these mostly red states are likely to do more harm than good.

Graph 1: Data for political affiliation for 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016 was provided by Gallup. Coronavirus data (accessed on May 14 and July 23, 2020) was provided by USA Today. All data used in the graphs is accessible here.

Now for the really good news for red states: The death rate per 1000 cases in the 12 most conservative states has improved to the point that it is currently five times lower than the corresponding average rate in the 12 most progressive states (Graph 2).

Graph 2: Note that nearly all improvement for COVID-19 survival took place in red states. Data for political affiliation for 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016 was provided by Gallup. Coronavirus data (accessed on May 14 and July 23, 2020) was provided by USA Today. All data used in the graphs is accessible here.

There are four plausible explanations for this huge disparity, none of which are mutually exclusive:

  1. COVID-19 patients in red states get better treatment.
  2. COVID-19 patients in red states are (on average) younger and healthier.
  3. The number of COVID-19 deaths in blue states is inflated.
  4. There is more COVID-19 testing in red states.

The first two explanations are highly plausible because conservative governors and physicians were more open to the use of hydroxychloroquine, and some these governors directed resources to protecting the most vulnerable from exposure to COVID-19. In sharp contrast, physicians prescribing this medicine in some blue states risked losing their medical licenses and some nursing homes in four of these states were decimated after being forced to accept patients recovering from COVID-19. The third explanation is also plausible because many blue states have enormous budget deficits. Consequently, some of these states may have deliberately inflated their COVID-19 death rates in order to get more federal aid. Regardless of which explanations are correct, all of these scenarios look bad for the blue-state model.

Nearly all red states included in Graphs 1 and 2 were among the 21 states that were open by early May. At least four of the 21 states (Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, and Texas) received blistering criticism from the media for “opening up too early.” Nevertheless, death rates of coronavirus positive residents in these states is on average eight times lower than that of the four states known to have imposed the controversial nursing home mandate ignored by the mainstream media (See Table).

Nursing home mandate

Deaths per 1000 cases up to 5/14

Deaths per 1000 5/14-6/23

Opened by early May*

Deaths per 1000 cases up to 5/14

Deaths per 1000 5/14-6/23

MI

97

47

AR

23

9

NJ

69

166

FL

43

11

NY

81

74

GA

43

15

PA

66

64

TX

27

10

Mean

81

88

Mean

34

11

* This list is not comprehensive: At least 21 states opened up by early May.

Table: States on the left forced nursing homes to take in COVID-19 positive patients. The states on the right allowed businesses and public facilities to open in early May. Note that nearly all improvement for COVID-19 survival took place in the states on the right. Coronavirus data (accessed on May 14 and July 23, 2020) was provided by USA Today. All data used in the graphs is accessible here.

The gap between blue and red states is so vast that the differential use of hydroxychloroquine must be investigated. After all, Yale epidemiologist Harvey Risch lamented how hydroxychloroquine had been viewed as a “marker of political identity,” and that some doctors who had saved “hundreds” of lives were now struggling to keep their licenses. This, and the bogus studies published to justify these politically-motivated policies is nothing short of Lysenkoism. Anthony Fauci’s continued skepticism regarding hydroxychloroquine forms part of this resistance to science, because this overrated expert also praised New York as the “model” for dealing with COVID-19. The venerable Fauci would no doubt have felt at home in the politburo.

More information needs to be compiled on the where and when hydroxychloroquine was used. If it is determined that restrictions on this medicine contributed to higher death rates, then the governors, medical boards, and media outlets responsible for this sinister policy will have a lot of blood on their hands.

Addendum: Following the advice of an epidemiologist who told me that African-Americans are dying at 2-3 times the rate of white Americans form COVID-19, I generated a race-adjusted chart and graph (Graph 3). Note that the fivefold difference between blue and red states remains unchanged even after adjusting for race.

Graph 3: Note that nearly all improvement for COVID-19 survival took place in red states. Data for political affiliation for 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016 was provided by Gallup. Coronavirus data (accessed on May 14 and July 23, 2020) was provided by USA Today. All original data is accessible here.

First some slightly bad news for the red states: The COVID-19 death rate has increased significantly in many states. However, the death rate in even the worst-affected red states is still well below that of most of their progressive counterparts that remained closed (Graph 1), so CDC following recommendations to “roll back” the opening of these mostly red states are likely to do more harm than good.

Graph 1: Data for political affiliation for 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016 was provided by Gallup. Coronavirus data (accessed on May 14 and July 23, 2020) was provided by USA Today. All data used in the graphs is accessible here.

Now for the really good news for red states: The death rate per 1000 cases in the 12 most conservative states has improved to the point that it is currently five times lower than the corresponding average rate in the 12 most progressive states (Graph 2).

Graph 2: Note that nearly all improvement for COVID-19 survival took place in red states. Data for political affiliation for 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016 was provided by Gallup. Coronavirus data (accessed on May 14 and July 23, 2020) was provided by USA Today. All data used in the graphs is accessible here.

There are four plausible explanations for this huge disparity, none of which are mutually exclusive:

  1. COVID-19 patients in red states get better treatment.
  2. COVID-19 patients in red states are (on average) younger and healthier.
  3. The number of COVID-19 deaths in blue states is inflated.
  4. There is more COVID-19 testing in red states.

The first two explanations are highly plausible because conservative governors and physicians were more open to the use of hydroxychloroquine, and some these governors directed resources to protecting the most vulnerable from exposure to COVID-19. In sharp contrast, physicians prescribing this medicine in some blue states risked losing their medical licenses and some nursing homes in four of these states were decimated after being forced to accept patients recovering from COVID-19. The third explanation is also plausible because many blue states have enormous budget deficits. Consequently, some of these states may have deliberately inflated their COVID-19 death rates in order to get more federal aid. Regardless of which explanations are correct, all of these scenarios look bad for the blue-state model.

Nearly all red states included in Graphs 1 and 2 were among the 21 states that were open by early May. At least four of the 21 states (Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, and Texas) received blistering criticism from the media for “opening up too early.” Nevertheless, death rates of coronavirus positive residents in these states is on average eight times lower than that of the four states known to have imposed the controversial nursing home mandate ignored by the mainstream media (See Table).

Nursing home mandate

Deaths per 1000 cases up to 5/14

Deaths per 1000 5/14-6/23

Opened by early May*

Deaths per 1000 cases up to 5/14

Deaths per 1000 5/14-6/23

MI

97

47

AR

23

9

NJ

69

166

FL

43

11

NY

81

74

GA

43

15

PA

66

64

TX

27

10

Mean

81

88

Mean

34

11

* This list is not comprehensive: At least 21 states opened up by early May.

Table: States on the left forced nursing homes to take in COVID-19 positive patients. The states on the right allowed businesses and public facilities to open in early May. Note that nearly all improvement for COVID-19 survival took place in the states on the right. Coronavirus data (accessed on May 14 and July 23, 2020) was provided by USA Today. All data used in the graphs is accessible here.

The gap between blue and red states is so vast that the differential use of hydroxychloroquine must be investigated. After all, Yale epidemiologist Harvey Risch lamented how hydroxychloroquine had been viewed as a “marker of political identity,” and that some doctors who had saved “hundreds” of lives were now struggling to keep their licenses. This, and the bogus studies published to justify these politically-motivated policies is nothing short of Lysenkoism. Anthony Fauci’s continued skepticism regarding hydroxychloroquine forms part of this resistance to science, because this overrated expert also praised New York as the “model” for dealing with COVID-19. The venerable Fauci would no doubt have felt at home in the politburo.

More information needs to be compiled on the where and when hydroxychloroquine was used. If it is determined that restrictions on this medicine contributed to higher death rates, then the governors, medical boards, and media outlets responsible for this sinister policy will have a lot of blood on their hands.

Addendum: Following the advice of an epidemiologist who told me that African-Americans are dying at 2-3 times the rate of white Americans form COVID-19, I generated a race-adjusted chart and graph (Graph 3). Note that the fivefold difference between blue and red states remains unchanged even after adjusting for race.

Graph 3: Note that nearly all improvement for COVID-19 survival took place in red states. Data for political affiliation for 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016 was provided by Gallup. Coronavirus data (accessed on May 14 and July 23, 2020) was provided by USA Today. All original data is accessible here.