And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.
— Edgar Allen Poe
Here’s an excerpt from a remarkable NYT article by David Leonhardt on the partisan gap in COVID-19 death rates since the arrival of the vaccines:
The gap in Covid’s death toll between red and blue America has grown faster over the past month than at any previous point.
In October, 25 out of every 100,000 residents of heavily Trump counties died from Covid, more than three times higher than the rate in heavily Biden counties (7.8 per 100,000). October was the fifth consecutive month that the percentage gap between the death rates in Trump counties and Biden counties widened.
Some conservative writers have tried to claim that the gap may stem from regional differences in weather or age, but those arguments fall apart under scrutiny. (If weather or age were a major reason, the pattern would have begun to appear last year.) The true explanation is straightforward: The vaccines are remarkably effective at preventing severe Covid, and almost 40 percent of Republican adults remain unvaccinated, compared with about 10 percent of Democratic adults.
A liberal elitist to my core, I’ve long thought the Republican Party was home to the most ignorant voters and evil elected officials in the nation. But I never truly fathomed the depth of the commitment of the former nor the depravity of the latter. It’s mindboggling.