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Disparate death rates may fuel U.S. divide over COVID-19

Video credit: Reuters Studio
Published on May 21, 2020 - Duration: 02:16s

Disparate death rates may fuel U.S. divide over COVID-19

A Reuters analysis of demographic and public health data found that death rates in Democratic parts of the U.S. are triple those in Republican ones.

This report produced by Zachary Goelman.

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Disparate death rates may fuel U.S. divide over COVID-19

A Reuters analysis found that coronavirus death rates in Democratic areas of the United States are three times higher than in Republican ones.

And it may factor into why Americans' response to the pandemic has split along party lines.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll this week found nearly half of Democrats were “very concerned” about the virus, compared with one-third of Republicans.

And a Reuters review of demographic and public health data found that by Wednesday, U.S. counties that voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election reported 39 coronavirus deaths per 100,000 residents.

In counties that voted for Republican Donald Trump, just 13 of every 100,000 people had died from the disease.

The uneven impact reflects the disproportionate toll the infectious disease has taken in densely-packed, Democratic-voting cities such as New York.

Rural areas and far-flung suburbs that typically back Republicans have not seen as direct an impact.

The disease has killed more than 2,000 people in the state of Maryland.

But the death rate in the Democratic suburbs of Washington is four times higher than in the conservative counties in the Appalachian panhandle.

In Kansas, which has reported 152 fatalities, the death rate is seven times higher in the two counties that backed Clinton than in the rest of the state.

Democratic counties in 36 of the 50 U.S. states collectively reported higher death rates than Republican counties.

The contrast is especially sharp in Michigan.

Hospitals in Detroit are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients - to the point where the dead are being stored in refrigerator trucks - while in Lansing, armed right-wing protesters demonstrate almost daily against the state's stay-at-home order inside the capitol.

Trump, who narrowly won Michigan in 2016, is visiting the state Thursday.

He has pressed the Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, to lift restrictions in hopes of reviving the economy before the November election.

The United States leads the world with more than 92,000 deaths, and over one-and-a-half million coronavirus infections.

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