Difference in State covid rates vs. political affiliation

Not sure if this belongs here or in the P&E category. Please move if needed.

It seemed to me that there was a stark difference in political affiliation between states that are doing pretty good fighting Covid and the ones that are not (and are experiencing a recent upswing in cases)

So I did some number crunching, looking at the “top 10” best and worst states for recent 7 day average cases per million per day.

The numbers certainly seem to be clear. If this were a scientific experiment, I’d say that the data shows that it’s clear that Trump-supporting states are doing poorly with covid containment compared to Biden supporting states (of course, this is not a 100% correlation).

I have not done the same analysis with vaccination rates, but I expect it would give similar results.

Top 10 Covid states
(July 14 rolling 7 day average cases/million/day)

Arkansas (339.1)
Missouri (262.0)
Nevada (219.4)
Louisiana (216.2)
Utah (160.6)
Florida (158.0)
Wyoming (146.6)
Oklahoma (125.5)
Mississippi (120.0)
Arizona (109.3)

Average 185 cases/million/day

Bottom 10 Covid states
(July 14 rolling 7 day average cases/million/day)
South Dakota (15.8) (
Vermont (17.4)
Maine (17.6)
Maryland (17.7)
Pennsylvania (18.9)
New Hampshire (19.8)
Rhode Island (20.8)
Michigan (22.6)
Massachusetts (24.8)
Connecticut (25.8)

Average 20 cases/million/day

Edit: Just re-doing the election difference, as I messed it up…

How does it look since the beginning of the pandemic?

All time, since the start of the pandemic (sorted by cases/100k):

North Dakota (14.5 cases/100k)
Rhode Island (14.4)
South Dakota (14.1)
Utah (13.1)
Tennessee (12.6)
Arizona (12.4)
Arkansas (11.9)
Iowa (11.9)
Oklahoma (11.7)
Wisconsin (11.7)

Pennsylvania (9.5)
WV (9.2)
Maryland (7.7)
NH (7.3)
Washington State (6.0)
Maine (5.2)
Oregon (5.0)
Vermont (3.9)
Hawaii (2.6)

It took a special kind of incompetence for those top ten states to leapfrog NY, NJ, and CT, who were the hardest hit early on by far.

This is especially impressive, given that Republican-leaning states tend to have lower population density than Democratic-leaning states. Like, North and South Dakota have the fourth and fifth lowest population densities in the country: It should have been really, really easy to control disease spread there.

Wait a minute… Looking at those numbers again: Are you really sure those are all-time cases per 100,000? Even in the worst-hit state, only 0.14% of the population even caught the disease? Something’s wrong with those numbers.

The correlation definitely seems to be present.

As for the “why”, we can speculate:

  • Governance in Republican leaning states being reluctant to implement public health measures early enough, or strong enough, or lifting them earlier.

  • Resistance in the general population in Republican leaning states to take public health measures such as social distancing and masking seriously enough.

  • Vaccination rates - possibly lower in Republican leaning states. (This data is available, and a check could be made)

Yes, all figures look like they are off by a factor of 1000.

North Dakota had 14,500 cases/100K. 14.5% of their population.

I’ve found a few different sites with sortable lists and all show the same order ( Eg: NY Times).

For more context here’s states sorted by deaths per capita:

New Jersey (299/100k)
New York (273/100k)
Massachusetts (261/100k)
Rhode Island (258/100k)
Mississippi (251/100k)
Arizona (248/100k)
Alabama (233/100k)
Louisiana (232/100k)
South Dakota (231//100k)

Hawaii (37/100k)
Vermont (41/100k)
Alaska (50/100k)
Maine (64/100k)
Oregon (67/100k)
Utah (75/100k)
Washington (80/100k)
New Hampshire (102/100k)
Idaho (121/100k)
Colorado (122/100k)

Yeah, sorry about the missing Ks.

Deaths per capita seems less relevant than cases per capita, doesn’t it? There was basically nothing the states could do about the number of deaths, especially early on, when no one had any idea how to treat it and hospitals were overwhelmed.

Not possibly, definitely. Again, from the NY Times, top and bottom ten states for percent of the population given at least one dose:

Vermont (75%)
Mass (71%)
Hawaii (71%)
Connecticut (68%)
Maine (67%)
Rhode Island (66%)
NJ (64%)
NM (64%)
PA (64%)
NH (64%)

South Carolina (45%)
North Dakota (44%)
Georgia (44%)
Arkansas (43%)
TN (43%)
Alabama (41%)
Wyoming (41%)
Idaho (40%)
Louisiana (39%)
Mississippi (38%)

The NYT website shows when these occur in mini graphs within the table. NJ, NY, Mass, RI and LA were hit very hard at the very beginning of the pandemic. For NJ, NY, and Mass, about 70-80% of their deaths happened at the beginning. About 50% for RI and 30% for LA.

Not particularly surprising…

This is not going to bode well for those states in the bottom over the next months/year when it comes to new Delta variant cases and increasing hospitalizations and deaths.

Thanks, but I was more interested in the current situation with Covid, especially with the Delta variant and increasing numbers in many of these states. I was interested in how things are doing NOW, that we have readily available vaccines, and presumably have a better handle on public health measures to take.

That’s why I was looking at the recent 7 day running mean of cases.

Things are getting worse in many of the states, especially Arkansas, where things look to be headed for an exponential increase. Things are doing OK in the other states, with cases staying steady or even dropping more.

How are things doing recently? Very bad in Republican leaning states it would appear. Especially in those Republican leaning states with low vaccination uptake. This does not bode well.

Depends on one’s perspective I suppose. If I had these statistics and had to go back in time with my family and choose a state to be stuck in since the beginning of the pandemic, I wouldn’t choose any of the top 10 in deaths per capita based purely on self-preservation instincts.

I’m more interested in what is happening NOW, not speculating about what we would do if we went back in time.

Now, we have a vaccine. Now, we have better knowledge of transmission modes. Now, we have a better idea of public health mitigation techniques.

What’s happening with states NOW that we have all this knowledge and vaccines?

Are there any public health mitigation techniques happening anywhere at this point? In NJ, everything is opened up to full capacity, I believe. Only public transit, hospitals, and a very few stores still have a mask mandate.

I think we’re relying on our vaccination rate, which is pretty high but definitely leveling off.

Fair enough. I agree they’re separate discussions.

I can’t figure how to embed the gif, but this is a pretty awesome visualization of % of population vaccinated vs. hospitalization rate over time. The vaccines are truly amazing.

In other countries, yes.

We KNOW the techniques. It’s just that some areas are not doing them.

I’m in the red state of Tennessee, one of those bottom states for vaccinations. I live in Memphis and my county has a fully vaccinated rate of 35% in a population of about a million. Less than 3 weeks ago, we had our first and only day of 0 new cases. At that time we had 320 active cases. This was right after all restrictions had been lifted. Today we are averaging over 100 new cases a day and our active cases are over 1200. What are we doing to mitigate this? Well, you are supposed to wear a mask if you are not vaccinated. And…that’s about it. This is what the county mayor had to say today:

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris said new community health restrictions won’t be the first focus during this surge. “Right now we want to sound the alarm and convince people to be vaccinated,” Mayor Harris said.

Because that’s been working so well. The reproduction rate is 1.5, higher than it’s been in over a year. Delta is close to 80% of the new cases. And the Tennessee legislature is stopping any information from being given out regarding vaccinations for teenagers. We are headed for disaster and it’s painful to helplessly watch.

I think there’s enough politics here that P&E is the better choice. Moved (from QZ).