Nov 9, 2021 -- There are more COVID-related deaths per 100,000 people in politically conservative areas than in places on the other side of the political spectrum, according to a New York Times analysis of data.

And for five straight months, the partisan gap has been widening, the analysis says.

In October, 25 out of every 100,000 residents in counties that went heavily for Donald Trump died of COVID-related reasons, compared to 7.8 deaths per 100,000 residents in counties that went heavily for Joe Biden, the Times said.

The arrival of COVID-19 vaccines appears to be the difference-maker.

At the end of 2020, before vaccines were available, there was virtually no difference in the COVID-19 death toll in red and blue states, the Times said.

The federal government granted emergency use authorization to the two-shot Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines in late December and the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine in February.

While it’s been known for months that Republicans have more vaccine hesitancy than Democrats, a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey confirmed it.

The KFF reported in late October that around 90% of Democrats said they’d received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, vs. 68% of Independents and only 58% of Republicans. Democrats are much more likely to say they will definitely or probably get a booster shot.The New York Times analysis said the partisan gap in COVID deaths may shrink soon, partly because the red areas’ vaccine hesitation and higher infection rates have resulted in a buildup of natural immunity. Also, antiviral treatments will likely help reduce death rates.

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The New York Times: “Good morning. The partisan gap in Covid deaths has grown larger.”

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