Don’t be surprised if some people mistake COVID-19 outbreak maps with those election outcome maps. The virus has killed more than 46,000 Americans and is expected to claim 20,000 more by August. But it’s hitting certain areas far harder than others.
Of the 10 states with the highest number of deaths per 100,000 residents, only two voted for President Donald Trump in 2016, and one of those was Michigan, which had been voting Democratic until Trump flipped it.
At the other end of the spectrum, of the 10 states with the lowest death rates, only one (Hawaii) voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
The median death rate for blue states is 4.3. For red states, it’s 1.9. (See the chart below.)
Heavily Democratic New York and New Jersey are driving this crisis. These two states alone account for 54% of all the coronavirus deaths in the U.S. The differences are stark.
While the number of confirmed cases in the nation is 2,511 per 1 million people, it’s 13,359 in New York and 10,402 in New Jersey. The overall death rate in the country is 140 per million people. In New York it’s 1,028. In New Jersey it’s 535.
Democrats have been working overtime to blame Trump for every COVID-19 death. But aren’t Democrats who run these heavily infected states more to blame?
Democrats say Trump should have been far more aggressive early in the year. Had he done so, however, those same Democrats would have screamed for his impeachment on the grounds that he’d gone dictatorial. And what were these same Democrats saying during the early months? Most of them, like most of the public health officials – including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization – were aggressively downplaying the risk.
In any event, a disease largely concentrated in a few liberal states has led to the shutdown of the entire country. In his syndicated column, Dennis Prager ponders what would happen if the reverse were true.
Imagine that Georgia and North Carolina – two contiguous states that, like the New York metro area, have a combined total of 21 million people – had 18,690 COVID-19 deaths, while metro New York had 858 deaths (the number of deaths in North Carolina and Georgia combined).
Do you think the New York metro area would close its schools, stores, restaurants, and small businesses?
Would every citizen of the New York area, with the few exceptions of those engaged in absolutely necessary work, be locked in their homes for months?
Would New Yorkers accept the decimation of their economic and social lives because North Carolina and Georgia (or, even more absurdly, Colorado, Montana, or the rest of what most New Yorkers regard as “flyover” country) had 18,960 deaths, while they had a mere 858?
Even within conservative states, liberal areas have been hardest hit by the disease. Indeed, a map of the death rates by county looks eerily similar to how these counties voted in 2016. (See the maps below. The blue and tan map shows COVID-19 death rates by county — the darker the blue, the higher the rate. The red and blue map shows results from the 2016 presidential election by county.)
To be sure, the high death rates are concentrated in and around cities, which are prime breeding grounds for any contagious disease. And no matter where they’re located, urban areas tend to be more liberal than the rest of the population.
There’s something else to consider. This outbreak is like no other, and it could turbocharge the ongoing exodus of people from high-tax, heavily regulated blue states toward those that limit government spending and are more pro-business. It could also prompt legions of urban liberals to move to less contagion-prone regions.
This interstate migration from blue to red has been going on for years. In 2018 alone, New York lost 180,000 people to other states. New Jersey lost more than 50,000, and Connecticut lost more than 20,000. Texas, on the other hand, gained 82,000, Arizona 83,000 and Florida gained 132,000.
What’s more, in any phased re-opening, red states are likely to open earlier, since their disease rates have been lower, giving them yet another advantage over blue states.
The problem with such migrations, however, is that liberals who abandon liberal states because they can’t afford the taxes or because business is scarce keep voting liberal in their new locations.
It would be especially ironic if a disease that afflicted mostly liberal areas of the country were to result in more counties and more states turning blue.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board.
Editor’s note: This editorial had misidentified the author of the column quoted as Victor Davis Hansen. It is, in fact, Dennis Prager. We’ve corrected that, and added a link to teh column. Thanks to the alert reader who notified of our error.