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Here's Who is Dying From COVID Right Now

Deaths have started to slow, but there are still people at risk.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

It's been well documented that since the COVID vaccine rollout became widespread, there has been more vaccine hesitation—and higher rates of COVID-19 death—in majority-Republican areas than in majority-Democratic areas. On Friday, The New York Times' David Leonhardt reported that this "partisan gap" in deaths has started to slow, but it's still growing. Here's the latest. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


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With the help of graphics, Leonardt noted that the gap between deaths in red counties and blue counties has started to narrow, but "red COVID"—a disproportionate number of COVID cases and deaths in majority-Republican areas—is still a going concern. 

"During the Omicron wave, deaths have risen less in red counties than in blue or purple counties. The most likely explanation seems to be that the number of Trump voters vulnerable to severe illness — which was still very large earlier last year — has declined, because more of them have built up some immunity to COVID from a previous infection."

However, "Don't make the mistake of confusing a gap that's no longer growing as rapidly as it was with a gap that is shrinking," wrote Leonhardt. "The gap between red and blue America — in terms of cumulative COVID deaths — is still growing."


A Red COVID Hotspot

unrecognizable doctor trying to vaccinate its patient while she is refusing it.

On Friday, Leonhardt described the situation in Ocean County, New Jersey, one of the least vaccinated areas in the Northeast U.S.: Only 53 percent of residents have gotten both doses of the COVID vaccine. As a result, "Nearly one out of every 200 residents has died from the virus," he reported. "That is worse than the toll in Mississippi, the U.S. state with the largest amount of Covid death per capita, and worse than in any country except for Peru."

The explanation: "The county is heavily Republican," wrote Leonhardt. "Donald Trump won it by almost 30 percentage points in 2020, and many Republicans — including those who are older than 65 and vulnerable to severe Covid illness — are skeptical of the vaccines."

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Watch Out For These Symptoms

Businesswoman coughing while having coffee break in the office.

"Look for emergency warning signs for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately," says the CDC:

"Trouble breathing

Persistent pain or pressure in the chest

New confusion

Inability to wake or stay awake

Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone"

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Get Vaccinated

Nurse with face mask sitting at home with senior woman and injecting covid 19 vaccine.

The point really isn't about political affiliation, but vaccination status. "Even in deeply blue counties, an outsize number of deaths are occurring among people who are unvaccinated or unboosted," wrote Leonhardt. "The vaccines offer incredible protection from a deadly virus, yet many Americans have chosen to leave themselves exposed."

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How to Stay Safe Out There

Brunette woman wearing a KN95 FPP2 mask.

Follow the fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.


Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor. Read more about Michael