Covid deaths and politics

Matt Yglesias directed me to an interesting graph showing the correlation between cumulative Covid deaths and county voting patterns:

At first glance this looks like proof that being a Republican makes you more likely to die of Covid, but correlation does not prove causation. After all, during the early months of the pandemic the Democratic leaning counties had much higher death rates. If correlation proved causation then that would suggest that early Covid deaths were partly caused by being a Democrat.

Nonetheless, I do believe there is a link between Covid deaths and politics, especially in recent months. In Florida, slightly less than 60,000 people have died of Covid, more than 22,000 just since the beginning of June. These recent deaths are especially important, as most were probably preventable via vaccination. So what about recent deaths among the unvaccinated, how are those associated with politics? We don’t know for certain, but we have three completely independent pieces of evidence that the unvaccinated skew Republican. I emphasize completely independent, as each individual piece of evidence can be questioned. But all three together are fairly persuasive.

The first piece of evidence is in the graph above, recent deaths (i.e., those since vaccines were widely available) skew heavily toward Republican areas. This is even true within states.

The second piece of evidence is that polls show a huge difference in vaccination rates between Democrats and Republicans:

Of Americans surveyed from Sept. 13-22, 72% of adults 18 and older had been vaccinated, including 71% of white Americans, 70% of Black Americans, and 73% of Hispanics. Contrast these converging figures with disparities based on politics: 90% of Democrats had been vaccinated, compared with 68% of Independents and just 58% of Republicans.

A Gallup survey released on Sept. 29 confirmed the KFF findings. As of mid-September, 75% of adult Americans have been vaccinated, including 73% of non-Hispanic white adults and 78% of non-whites. Along party lines, however, the breakdown was 92% of Democrats, 68% of Independents, and 56% of Republicans.

And the third piece of evidence is that much of the fake information about vaccine effectiveness is being spread on conservative news outlets. Here’s Tucker Carlson:

TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): Like almost everyone his age, Colin Powell was fully vaccinated against COVID. And yet according to his family and doctors, Colin Powell died of COVID. Of course, that fact does not make his death any less sad nor is it unusual. Many thousands of vaccinated Americans have died of COVID. 

Former CDC Director Robert Redfield announced just today that about 40% of all recent COVID deaths in the state of Maryland, for example, are among those who’ve had both shots. 

So, what does that tell you, exactly? Well, it tells you, you’ve been lied to. Vaccines may be highly useful for some people, but across a population, they do not solve COVID.

Of course this is false, this doesn’t show you’ve been lied to. From the beginning, vaccines were only claimed to be about 90% effective, and that still seems to be the case. Powell had previously had cancer, and thus was unusually susceptible to Covid. And the 40% figure is hugely misleading, as all but the most innumerate among you probably recognize. (What percentage of older Marylanders are unvaccinated, for instance?)

So Carlson’s wrong; the evidence he cites doesn’t prove we were lied to. (Of course we’ve been lied to plenty of times, but not on this specific point.)

Carlson isn’t explicitly telling people not to get vaccinated, but his frequent misinformation has the effect of discouraging people from getting vaccinated. What kind of people? The kind of people who watch Fox News. I have no proof that Fox News viewers skew Republican, but I’m pretty confident they do. And I suspect there’s even more inaccurate vaccine information on far right wing conspiracy websites.

The upshot of all of this is that the constant drumbeat of anti-vax misinformation coming from the right has recently contributed to the needless deaths of hundreds if not thousands of Florida Republicans, people who would be alive if those they look to for information had been more honest with them. This whole situation isn’t just sad—what happened in 2020 is sad. This is a disgrace.

BTW. People on the left should not be smug about this. There are 40,000 needless deaths each year due to the ban on selling kidneys. How many on the left are speaking out on that travesty? And how about the fact that illegal opioid deaths (especially fentanyl) soared by tens of thousands after the government cracked down on legal opioids? Who is speaking out on that issue?



41 Responses to “Covid deaths and politics”

  1. Gravatar of Matthias Matthias
    31. October 2021 at 15:34

    Wouldn’t you at least want to control for age?

    I know that older people are more likely to die of Covid. I suspect they might also be more likely to vote GOP?

  2. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    31. October 2021 at 18:36

    Matthias, Yes, but that’s not enough to change the general pattern. The real problem is that far fewer Republicans get vaccinated.

  3. Gravatar of Matty Wacksen Matty Wacksen
    1. November 2021 at 01:23

    > The upshot of all of this is that the constant drumbeat of anti-vax misinformation coming from the right has recently contributed to the needless deaths of hundreds if not thousands of Florida Republicans, people who would be alive if those they look to for information had been more honest with them.

    If we’re going to assign blame away from those who are dead, we may as well assign at least a nontrivial percentage to the people incessantly pushing vaccines and NPIs like lockdowns. While not in the US, know lots of unvaccinated people here in Europe. They skew both rural and conservative (but not uneducated). If the general discourse around corona coming from the “mainstream media”(*) had been more honest, and politicans less coercive, more of them might be vaccinated today.

    Or not, conservative people distrust new things, and the vaccine is new. Getting sick is not. But we should remember that “hundreds if not thousands” of Florida deaths. If my math is correct, based on mortality statistics there are about 200,000 deaths per year, i.e. 2 million per decade. A few thousand extra deaths in a year from a (hopefully) rarer than once in a decade event is only a tragedy in the sense that every death is a tragedy.

    (*) For lack of a better term

  4. Gravatar of Matty Wacksen Matty Wacksen
    1. November 2021 at 01:25

    Sorry about the horrendous grammar above, but I hope what I am saying can be parsed.

  5. Gravatar of bill bill
    1. November 2021 at 06:36

    The blue counties in the first decile really got an unfair start on this death race in the beginning of this covid death race. The red counties have really had to fight hard to make up for that head start. (hopefully the sarcasm is obvious).

    Observation/question. If Dems are 92% vaccinated and Black Americans are 70% vaccinated, I wonder how high the vaccination rate for non-Black Democrats is? Very high 90’s I would guess. Is that plausible?

  6. Gravatar of Harry Le Hermit Harry Le Hermit
    1. November 2021 at 07:14

    I would agree the current trend for deaths due to covid are in presumptive red states and where vaccination rates are lower.

    I would disagree with the contention (comment) that elderly voters are republican and therefore vaccine hesitant. If vaccine hesitancy among this age group was due to party affiliation, the CDC numbers suggest they are more democrat than the rest of the nation.

    I think we all know or should know that some rate of deaths will be deemed acceptable. In my opinion, this will be around <300 per day range.

    The real issue and has been all along, in my opinion… are covid treatments by the medical community are not a real moneymaker, whereas many other costly procedures are. Sorry, but I have noticed the hysteria begins to subside, when hospitals free up bed space from covid patients.

    That and government need to get the economy (tax dollars) flowing.

    I'm an old cynic.

  7. Gravatar of bb bb
    1. November 2021 at 07:29

    Correct all the way down the line. As a lefty, I do not feel smug. I have a handful of republican friends who are either not vaccinated or not vaccinating their children. It’s impossible to speak to them. They are so emotionally charged. I feel sorry for them because I know they’ve been deceived, but I’m also angry because innocent people are dying. You can’t talk to them so it doesn’t matter. Smug definitely doesn’t describe how I feel.
    And I’ve been pro selling organs and anti-war on drugs most of my adult life.

  8. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    1. November 2021 at 08:02

    Matty, The people pushing vaccines are to blame? Okay . . .

    bb, Glad to hear you are on the right side of those issues. Wish there were more of us.

  9. Gravatar of foosion foosion
    1. November 2021 at 13:12

    That seems like yet another example of my “favorite” phenomenon in this area – the claim that lefties are discouraging the rightwing from getting vaccinated through the clever reverse psychology of encouraging them to get vaccinated. Alas, more common than one might hope. – basically stories of anti-vaxxers dying of covid. Karma meets schadenfreude, or something.

  10. Gravatar of foosion foosion
    1. November 2021 at 13:16

    Regarding your BTW on kidneys and drugs, it seems hard to blame the left. I don’t see many politicians speaking in favor and there doesn’t seem a lot of public sentiment. I can imagine the rightwing firestorm if someone on the left proposed this. Some ideas are just not practicable.

  11. Gravatar of anon anon
    1. November 2021 at 18:54

    If most unvaccinated are rural, conservative (guess that means more religious vis-a-vis urban, liberal) red country folks, wouldn’t vaccine hesitancy actually militate against their belief (suicide is a sin in xtianity irrespective of your denomination). not taking vaccine is basically playing a russian roulette with atleast one bullet loaded in the revolver, isn’t it? So wouldn’t the unvaccinated demographic be pro-vaccine?

    is there some other belief that trumps this suicide is a sin belief.

  12. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    1. November 2021 at 19:57

    foosion, You said:

    “That seems like yet another example of my “favorite” phenomenon in this area – the claim that lefties are discouraging the rightwing from getting vaccinated through the clever reverse psychology of encouraging them to get vaccinated.”

    I actually saw someone at Breitbart propound that theory.

    As for kidney markets, I thought right-wingers favored free markets?

    Anon, I don’t think religion has much to do with anyone’s political views, whether in the US or in Saudi Arabia. I don’t see any link between the political views of most American Christians and what’s taught in the Bible.

    BTW, back in the 1970s the Southern Baptist leadership favored legalizing abortion. Politics isn’t about religion.

  13. Gravatar of Jg Jg
    1. November 2021 at 20:35

    A lot of info on both political sides is distorted. You can’t compare I’ll effects from original covid versus delta. And hard to compare anything absent age stratification.

  14. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    1. November 2021 at 21:31

    Jg, That’s all ya got? Why even bother commenting?

  15. Gravatar of foosion foosion
    2. November 2021 at 06:39

    Scott, “As for kidney markets, I thought right-wingers favored free markets?”

    Can you name some prominent right-wing politicians pushing for kidney markets and legalizing all drugs?

    The in-power right-wingers I see favor free markets when free markets is a useful slogan to advance their causes. Perhaps we’re in “no true Scotsman” territory.

  16. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    2. November 2021 at 08:43

    foosion, Yes, I suppose I was being a bit sarcastic. I should have made that clearer.

    But I don’t understand the claim that people on the left don’t push for kidney markets because they are unpopular. People on the left push for hugely unpopular “woke” ideas. Some of this stuff is far more unpopular than kidney markets would be.

    (My comment was not in regards to politicians, BTW. I expect NOTHING from them.)

  17. Gravatar of foosion foosion
    2. November 2021 at 09:16

    Scott, it’s so hard to tell sarcasm these days and we’re not even into

    There are people across the political spectrum who push for all sorts of things. I’m more concerned with things pushed by those in power or by enough people to be meaningful.

  18. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    2. November 2021 at 13:52

    Scott, as I have pointed out before if…

    1) You don’t normalize deaths by age, and
    2) You don’t normalize party affiliation by rural/suburban/urban:

    the analysis is garbage.

    Further the Brookings polling data are clearly wrong. CDC has actual data for vax rates by ethnicity, which clearly show the polling data do not accurately reflect actual vax rates. If the polling data for the one characteristic which can actually be checked is wrong, caution would suggest that all the polling data be viewed with suspicion.

  19. Gravatar of Sean Sean
    2. November 2021 at 14:40

    Now run costs benefit analysis of red versus blue state policies. Even modest costs on more lockdowns/masks shifts the data well into the red camp. And medical freedom isn’t a right to just sacrifice. The vaccines are leakier, less effective, and more side effects than we all hoped for. You shift that data more and suddenly the no vaxx people are in the right and that’s why it’s so important to not have a mandate. I’m personally not fully vaxxed. I had COVID and got one vaccine as a booster. A second booster especially without significant months of spacing them would not be a good risks reward for me.

    Ya of course it kind of sucks political sides have to be all against or all for. But on net the against people are dominating utilitarian arguments. And it’s not even close. This is just Caplans social desirability bias at work.

  20. Gravatar of steve steve
    2. November 2021 at 16:41

    Billions of people have received the vaccine so we know a lot about it. We know that it is one of the safest vaccines. If you believe it has a lot of problems you are probably getting your information from political sites and not medical studies or any public source. They remain about 90% against major illness and death. There is some evidence that the AZ vaccine has little effect after 6 months in becoming infected but even AZ prevents illness and death. We dont have AZ here in the US so our vaccines still help prevent contagion.

    You are correct that the NE corridor had much higher death rates very early. Remember that in those early months the death rate for hospitalized pts, where most people died, was about twice as high as it was a few months later. In essence just cut those deaths in NY and NJ in half and then compare them to other states. If you want to blame Democrats for those early high death rates then OK but I guess you then have to give them credit for finding out how to cut those rates in half, saving hundreds of thousands of lives.

    At any rate, it is very clear that there have been hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths from failure to vaccinate and to take any efforts to mitigate.


  21. Gravatar of henry henry
    2. November 2021 at 17:10

    16,000 deaths now in VAERS. ‘

    That is more than any other vaccine combined over the last thirty years.

    Whistleblower in Texas says Pfizer falsified data during FDA approval process.

    But yes, let’s all ignore the data and run out like crazed lunatics to get unlimited boosters. As Trump says, “you can see the dollar signs in their eyes”.

    By the way, Sumner is definetly crying tonight! Huuuuuge win for Youngkin. Seems parents don’t like Sumner’s communist party using race in publicly funded schools to “divide and conquer”.

    I do find it interesting that the same people pushing CRT (new racism) are affiliated with the same people (party) who fought for slavery and instituted Jim Crow.

    The demothugs bigoty continues…

    Although, it appears that bigotry is no longer a winning strategy in Virginia!

  22. Gravatar of rinat rinat
    2. November 2021 at 18:03

    I doubt he will win, Henry.

    They won’t count the votes in Norfolk for a few days. And you can be sure that the democrats have a plan to fix the outcome. Perhaps more midnight ballot dumps in unmarked vehicles at 3am…

    Or a “water pipe” might break…

    You get the idea. Anything for one party control.

  23. Gravatar of Student Student
    2. November 2021 at 19:55


    Why not place a bet on it then? Predictit you can place a bet on McAllife for 5 cents on the dollar. Curious to know if you even believe the nonsense you spout off. Btw, in 6 minutes jfk jr is going to reveal he is still alive in Dallas.

    Notice, a Republican can win in a pretty blue state like Virginia when they distance themselves from crazy.

  24. Gravatar of foosion foosion
    3. November 2021 at 09:19

    VAERS is not a verified system. Anyone can report whatever they want. Whistleblowers are free to say whatever they want. Ignoring easily falsified and unverified claims, especially when those claims are contrary to more reliable information, does not seem a bad idea.

  25. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    3. November 2021 at 11:32

    This blog seems to be attracting a surfeit of conspiracy nuts these days. What the hell happened here?

    There’s the claim the Chinavirus came from Laos, to the claim Republicans are responsible for Covid seasonality (sunbelt wave) and the claim VAERS is full of hoax adverse reactions. Any others that I missed?

  26. Gravatar of steve steve
    3. November 2021 at 19:21

    A friend of a friend managed to get VAERS to accept the complaint that the vaccine turned him into the Hulk. If you know how VAERS actually works and you have been following it for years then you arent concerned about the reports to VAERS.


  27. Gravatar of Bob OBrien Bob OBrien
    3. November 2021 at 20:26

    If we want to save lives from the Covid-19 virus we should look to the doctors who are on the front lines treating covid patients. Dr Peter McCullough is one of the best. Here is what he has to say:

  28. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    4. November 2021 at 08:16

    foosion, Are politicians “in power”, or do they follow the lead of public opinion? I want public opinion on the left to change, so that their leaders will change.

    dtoh, As I’ve told you many times, I consider your claim to be wildly implausible, as do almost all other experts who have looked at this question.

    BTW, older people skew Republican, which makes it even more striking that Republicans are far less likely to get vaccinated. Even within states the Republican towns are far less likely to get vaccinated than Democratic areas. The evidence for my claim is overwhelming, as strong as the evidence that cigarettes cause lung cancer.

    Sean, You said:

    “Now run costs benefit analysis of red versus blue state policies. Even modest costs on more lockdowns/masks”

    LOL, talk about changing the subject! The post was on vaccines, and the evil people who put out misinformation discouraging their use, not on whether mask mandates are good (I oppose government mask mandates.) You people are getting desperate.

    Steve, Thank God! A rare voice of reason.

  29. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    4. November 2021 at 08:22

    Bob, LOL, another anti-vax nut? What’s wrong with you people?

  30. Gravatar of Bob OBrien Bob OBrien
    4. November 2021 at 15:28

    “Bob, LOL, another anti-vax nut? What’s wrong with you people?”

    Doctor McCullough got his vaxination so how does this make him an “anti-ax nut”. Even after the vax he still got covid as did his dad. He now has natural immunity so no need for another shot. I think you missed the point. In the past we told people who got the virus to stay at home until you are really sick and then go to the hospital. Doctor McCullough is saying that they should have been treated at home and may would have done much better.

  31. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    4. November 2021 at 15:36

    You comment is beyond bizarre. Clearly the percentage of Republicans in rural areas and old people in Florida is higher than the national average. Failure to look at this in the analysis indicates either a) extreme political bias, or b) ignorance of the difference between causality and correlation.

    Where did you get data on vax rates for “towns.”

    And who are your unnamed “experts?”

    And as I pointed out the polling data you cite are indisputably wrong.

  32. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    5. November 2021 at 05:04

    Re:Fentanyl etc——Greg Gutfeld has been shouting to the roof tops for two years plus on the crackdown on legal (and illegal) use of opioids—-and why you focus on Carlson —-yeah he is the highest rated —-big deal—-most Fox guys are pro vaccine——but not pro forced vaccine—although some are. Are you pro forced Vaccine——or pro forced working out if overweight. No you are not.

    I have no idea if GOP members are ideologically opposed to taking the vaccine——but I am willing to believe the polls you site. But so what? Obviously not all Democrats have gotten the vaccine and not all Republicans have not gotten it. If you want to believe Carlson (he is annoying to me) is the cause go right ahead. I do admire your restraint on not blaming Trump however.

    Did you notice what Italy just did? Kind of bizarre. Although not completely—-but largely. One thing I am unable to get anyone interested in is the pneumonia and flu death counts. If you do not know what I mean——then you should find out. It’s right there on the CDC sight on excess deaths. I will be impressed if you know. And I will be even more impressed if you do not and look it up. And I will be super impressed if it makes you wonder what is going on.

    But I expect to not be the least bit impressed.

  33. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    5. November 2021 at 05:22

    Reading the decent or very good news on employment this morning. It does validate a concept you have brought up before (I have always agreed—-except maybe a teeny bit on the margin) how Presidents have little control over economy.

    But that’s not my main point. I wasn’t even looking for this——but implicit in the WSJ article was the concept of demand pull inflation. Monetarism must be very counterintuitive——because 90+ percent of their articles and even higher percent of commenters believe in this. Also, the right wing media (there is plenty of right wing media) loves to blame inflation on Biden and Dems. I am not sure they even have a theory. But, it makes them no more stupid than the left wing media.

  34. Gravatar of janice janice
    5. November 2021 at 13:43

    “Of course this is false, this doesn’t show you’ve been lied to. From the beginning, vaccines were only claimed to be about 90% effective, and that still seems to be the case.”


    It’s not 90% effective. If you had a brain, which you don’t, you could comprehend the lancet study that shows clearly, and unequivocally, that the vaccine is about falling WAY short of the 90% threshold. In fact, it’s about 1% more effective than not getting any vaccine at all.

    In addition to that, can you please tell your economic thugs – like Krugman – to please leave elon musk alone?

    Elon Musk actually creates jobs. Your thugs don’t.

    Elon Musk builds things that bring benefit to others. Your thugs don’t.

    And asking for 6B to end world hunger is a joke. People in the PH are still waiting for the UN’s Typhoon Yolanda assistance.

    The UN gives that money to politicians who funnel it into bank accounts. It helps nobody, but the regime. Not to mention, the UN politicians have been caught funneling money too!

    And yeah, your communist party cannot even end hunger in L.A… Perhaps if they actually developed homes in those cities, instead of asking for huge kickbacks to acquire permits, and setting up “impossible zoning restrictions” as the catalyst for soliciting kickbacks, then the homeless would have a place to sleep.

    But I’m waiting with bated breath for UN dummies, and U.S. economists, to show Elon how they will spend it, on twitter, as he requested.

    cricket, cricket….

  35. Gravatar of rinat rinat
    5. November 2021 at 19:27

    Can anyone else imagine Sumner doing a google search, then saying to himself “I’ve done the research, the vaccine is okay” . The guy is a bonafide moron.

    But he wants you to believe none of those articles are real. Just more “fake news” and more “conspiracy” from the “hard right”, whatever that means.

    And stop worrying about Floridians you fucking pig.

    Newsflash: Floridian adults can make decisions for themselves. They don’t need the CDC, a dumb dumb Sumner, or some other arrogant apparatchik making decisions for them.

    Keep your pathetic virtue signaling to yourself.

    And stop advertising to children. Fucking nutjob.

  36. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    6. November 2021 at 05:03

    When you do not respond to something, I assume you think it is so dumb (meaning the writer has an embarrassing misunderstanding of something that is so basic), completely off topic, a plain vanilla obvious point, you are merely irritated at the tone, or the topic is just not that interesting. I am sure I fall into those categories from time to time—-maybe half the time or far more.

    But every once in a while, I am virtually positive I have a legitimate and interesting point——and it is when you do not respond to those I am perplexed. I do not believe you are afraid of something that goes against what you think is true but you think it might make sense. It’s not your character.

    One of those points is CDC counts. I have gone on right wing sites, left wing sites, Econ sites, WSJ, and NO ONE has ever responded to a FACTUAL observation I have made re: death counts.

    Except my doctor who found it very interesting. She did not know why or how CDC made radical count changes re: flu and pneumonia——and she found the double counts odd. But from her perspective, as a practical person, her approach did not change—which is what I would have expected. Get vaccines for Covid, Pneumonia, and Flu. She believes everyone certainly above 50 should.

    But she still found the data surprising—-so I am pretty sure I am not crazy. We have know each other for 20 years +.

    Yet, I repeat—despite the fact that CDC produces this data, despite the fact that both pneumonia and flu are primarily spread through airborne bacteria and viruses —-which lead to the body getting the disease (pneumonia indirectly, flu directly) and despite the fact that pneumonia deaths are 90-95% of Covid death (“with or from”), flu deaths are now only 1000-1500 a year, and approx half of Covid and half of pneumonia deaths do not involve the other—-but half do—-there is zero interest in this.

    These numbers have simply been changed. The method of counting that is. Pneumonia deaths are now about 10x what they used to be—-and flu deaths are about 2%-3% (yes 2%-3%) of what they used to be.

    Yet you are more interested in if Republicans get vaccinated less than Democrats. Honestly, I find this bizarre. I write this on your crappy blog—-as it fits the topics discussed——how can there be no interest in this? I cannot believe you think it is unimportant—-because this is government data—-and it impacts everything we understand.

    Maybe everyone knows this except me but that does not seem true. It makes no sense. I do not get it.

  37. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    6. November 2021 at 08:04

    dtoh, Because I’m not completely innumerate, I’m able to take account of modest differences in the age distribution between areas when making my claims. It doesn’t even come close to overturning my results. Not even close.

    And you still seem to ignore that old people are more likely to become vaccinated, so bringing in age makes it even harder to explain why Republican areas have far lower vaccination rates. It cuts both ways.

    Bob, You said:

    “He now has natural immunity so no need for another shot.”

    LOL, him and Aaron Rodgers. And yes, he is an anti-vaxxer.

    Michael, Imagine an old guy with emphysema. He’s on oxygen, and gets worse every single day. He’s getting weaker and weaker. He has little time left. Now he catches the flu. Did He die of emphysema or the flu? I usually tell people my dad died of emphysema, but if people want to claim it was the flu I don’t give a damn. It doesn’t matter.

    I’ve known for a long time that the flu data was debatable, as many of the deaths were people with other serious illnesses, so it was debatable what they died of. I thought everyone knew that.

  38. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    6. November 2021 at 19:01

    Clearly vaccination rates are correlated with demographic factors. Until you normalize for this, you have zero evidence to support your belief that there is a causal link between politics and vaccination rates. Zero!

    And don’t cite the poll numbers again. The data from the CDC clearly show the responses to the poll don’t accurately reflect actual vaccination rates.

    And… “I’m able to take account of modest differences in the age distribution between areas when making my claims.”


    Would you describe the fact that the percentage of the population that are 75 and older is 53% higher in Florida than in California as “modest?”


    “And you still seem to ignore that old people are more likely to become vaccinated, so bringing in age makes it even harder to explain why Republican areas have far lower vaccination rates.”

    Is this a real question?

    Show me data normalized for urban/suburban/rural. Until you eliminate this confounder, you can’t draw any conclusions from the data.

  39. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    7. November 2021 at 06:53

    Thanks Scott for answering—-much appreciated. But I don’t think you recognize fully what I am talking about. I agree, if it is what you are saying, that it is total deaths that matter—-particularly in the type of example you provided. And you and I have almost the same view on the big picture mishandling of the Covid crisis.

    My point is stranger, however. And deserves to be understood. Pneumonia is the number one cause of hospitalization. According to the CDC, 1.5 million people a year are hospitalized due to pneumonia. Pneumonia is predominantly caught by air borne particles of bacteria, viruses, and fungi in a similar manner as colds. The vaccine works only for community acquired (pneumococcal) ——not those transmitted in hospital or nursing home settings.

    And—-as of 2018—45K a year die from pneumonia —-what is on the current CDC site.

    But, on the “excess deaths associated with Covid-19” site, since 1/1/20—-673,000 died “with” pneumonia (excluding those who also had flu (?!) but including those who also had Covid (385,000 of the 673,000). Covid deaths were 751,000 “presumed or confirmed”—including 385,000 who also had pneumonia (or any other disease—like flu).

    In one way—-who cares——like rearranging proverbial deck chairs. But the difference in numbers is huge—and unexplained. Also—-children under 5 die far more frequently with pneumonia. And—-pneumonia is transmissible.

    My point is how we have created the message———we are obsessed with Covid—-even to the point of whether republicans or democrats are vaccinated——in other words Covid is analyzed politically, not just medically—even a smart person like you does it. Which is crazy,

    Yet—-it seems to me—-pneumonia is as dangerous——if we do believe the “excess death” charts. I am glad we do not have a double panic——but if 45k deaths per year can become 384K deaths per year (pneumonia), why can’t it happen in reverse for Covid?

    We know that it could——because it did——but then we changed the Covid count from the old flu method (in early 2020)—-to the “presumed or confirmed” method.

    What is my big picture point? Politics created an unnecessary and dangerous reaction to Covid. We have no real knowledge of increased deaths due to our collective actions in trying to avoid Covid—-even as we assume people avoided medical treatment for other diseases——including suicidal ideation.

    While you may or may not agree to a greater or lesser degree to this point——I believe it is the number one issue——-and “Pneumonia death counts” and the virtual zeroing out of flu deaths are the most bizarre evidence of this.

    It is the politics of public health which is the problem——far more than the diseases themselves. We need to force the CDC to explain itself.

  40. Gravatar of Bob OBrien Bob OBrien
    7. November 2021 at 09:16

    I said: He now has natural immunity so no need for another shot.

    From Scott: “LOL, him and Aaron Rodgers.”

    For evidence supporting natural immunity see the John Hopkins study from Aug 2021 at:

    The money line quote from this study:

    “Model 1 compared 16,215 people in both the vaccinated and natural immunity groups and found that cases in the vaccinated group (n=238, 1.5%) were 13 fold more likely to experience a breakthrough infection than the natural immunity group (n=19, 0.12%).”

  41. Gravatar of Bob OBrien Bob OBrien
    7. November 2021 at 09:28

    For additional information regarding natural immunity see:

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