The coronavirus pandemic will surpass the influenza pandemic of 1918 in total number of deaths today even though we have access to modern technology and vaccines, but how many lives could have been saved by vaccines?
The New York Times developed a model to calculate how many lives could have been saved if every state had a vaccination rate as high as the highest state and the results are not surprising.
We modeled each state separately and modeled people ages 18 to 64 and people 65 and up separately, since they have very different mortality rates and vaccination rates. Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data does not allow for more granular age modeling. The results are striking: During the latest coronavirus wave, in July and August, at least 16,000 deaths could have been prevented if all states had vaccination rates as high as the state with the highest vaccination rate. The number of lives that could have been saved will grow unless vaccination rates in lagging states improve.
Moreover, this correlates almost exactly with the result of the 2020 presidential election.
While places with high vaccination rates differ from those with lower rates in many ways, such as poverty level and insurance status, there is a particularly striking divide between red states and blue states. Surveys show that Democrats are 59 percent more likely than Republicans to say they have been vaccinated, a larger gap than that by gender, race, education or even age. If you tried to predict whether a state voted for President Biden using only its vaccination rate, you would predict 90 percent of states correctly. As a result of this partisan gap, undervaccination has allowed nearly 12,000 preventable deaths in red states during July and August, more than double the 4,800 in blue states.
To say that Donald Trump and the GOP are still responsible for most of the deaths we're seeing this long after he left office is not partisan conjecture. It's in the evidence.
It seems unlikely that red states will ever match the vaccination rate of blue states because this basic tool of medicine has become part of conservative identity politics and their culture war. That places a hard cap on the number of people who will ever accept it.
Conservativism literally kills people and the Republican party is a death cult.