'Clearly defined body count': Florida and Ohio Republicans experienced 43 percent more COVID deaths than Dems

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in Phoenix in August 2022 (Gage Skidmore).

No country in the world suffered, per capita, more COVID-19-related deaths then the United States. According to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, COVID-19 has killed more than 6.8 million people worldwide; over 1.1 million of them were in the U.S.

The U.S., during the worst of the pandemic, didn't lock down as hard as many other developed countries. Pandemic-related restrictions were tougher in Australia as well as parts of the European Union. Regardless, countless MAGA Republicans raged against COVID-19 restrictions, vaccines and protective face masks. Hating Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top White House medical advisor, became a MAGA pastime.

A Journal of American Medicine (JAMA) study released on July 24 examines COVID-19-related fatalities in two states that former President Donald Trump won in 2020: Florida and Ohio — and reports that "excess mortality was significantly higher for Republican voters than Democratic voters after COVID-19 vaccines were available to all adults, but not before."

READ MORE: How DeSantis' anti-vax flip-flop made Florida’s COVID death rate soar: report

According to JAMA researchers Jacob Wallace, Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham and Jason L. Schwartz, "The differences in excess mortality by political party affiliation after COVID-19 vaccines were available to all adults suggest that differences in vaccination attitudes and reported uptake between Republican and Democratic voters may have been a factor in the severity and trajectory of the pandemic in the U.S….. There is evidence that Republican-leaning counties have had higher COVID-19 death rates than Democratic-leaning counties and similar evidence of an association between political party affiliation and attitudes regarding COVID-19 vaccination; further data on these rates may be useful."

The researchers report that "between March 2020 and December 2021, excess death rates were 2.8 percentage points, 15 percent, higher for Republican voters compared with Democratic voters — 95 percent PI, 1.6-3.7 percentage points."

"After April 1, 2021, when all adults were eligible for vaccines in Florida and Ohio, this gap widened from −0.9 percentage point (95% PI, −2.5 to 0.3 percentage points) between March 2020 and March 2021, to 7.7 percentage points (95 percent PI, 6.0-9.3 percentage points) in the adjusted analysis, or a 43 percent difference," according to Wallace, Goldsmith-Pinkham and Jason L. Schwartz.

Journalist Charles P. Pierce discusses the JAMA study in an article published by Esquire on August 1 and describes it as "damning" proof of the damage that right-wing COVID denialism caused.

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"Conservative political rhetoric and conservative political governance now have a clearly defined body count," Pierce argues. "They talked so many people into ruining their health, and that was the most benign outcome, because they talked so many people into the grave."

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