A new study found that more Republicans are dying from COVID-19 than Democrats.
According to the study released last month by the National Bureau of Economic Research, “political affiliation has emerged as a potential risk factor for COVID-19,” as Republican-leaning counties have higher COVID-19 death rates than Democrat-leaning counties.
The study tracked 577,659 people who died in Ohio and Florida at age 25 or older between January 2018 and December 2021. Researchers then cross-referenced voter registration with mortality data.
They found that the average excess death rates in Florida and Ohio were 76% higher among Republicans than Democrats from March 2020 to December 2021.
Excess death is the difference between the total number of deaths estimated for a specific place and given time period and the number that would have been expected in the absence of a crisis.
Researchers believe that vaccine hesitancy among Republicans is to be blamed for the higher excess death rates.
“We really don’t see a big divide until after vaccines became widely available in our two states,” Jacob Wallace, an author of the study and an assistant professor of health policy at the Yale School of Public Health said.
Excess death rates for Republicans in Ohio and Florida were 1.6 percent higher than Democrats before the vaccines. The partisan gap in excess deaths widened to 10.6 percent between April to December 2021, after all adults became eligible for COVID vaccines.
The study found that the largest gap was concentrated in Florida and Ohio counties with low vaccination rates.
“In counties where a large share of the population is getting vaccinated, we see a much smaller gap between Republicans and Democrats,” Wallace said.
According to the CDC, roughly 20 percent of the population still haven’t gotten a single vaccine shot.
Wallace predicted that we may still see these types of trends if vaccine hesitancy continues among Republicans.