Every day, The New York Times publishes the data on number of new Covid-19 cases in each state in the past week. I analyzed that data to see if there is a difference in the infection rates in states led by Republican and Democratic governors.
During the last week, 15 of the 20 best-performing states — those with the lowest infection rates — had Democrat governors, and 15 of the 20 worst-performing states — those with the highest infection rates — had Republican governors.
Our nation has 26 states with Republican governors and 24 states with Democrat governors. Fewer citizens live in the Republican led states, but they have far more new infections.
During the past week, if the states led by Republican governors had the same rate of infection as states led by Democrat governors, those states would have had 71,378 fewer Covid-19 cases in the past week. The total number of new cases in the US would have dropped about 10,000 per day, from over 40,000 to about 30,000.
Assuming that the hospital systems in Republican-led states are about as effective as those in Democrat-led states, that would reduce the death rate by 25 percent as well; in the coming weeks, 250 fewer people would die every day.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why this is happening. Governors are the ones protecting their citizens by imposing rules for mask wearing, size of gatherings, distancing, business openings/closing, school openings, etc. Republican governors are following the advice and behavior of Trump: masks are not needed, large indoor gatherings are fine, “we’ve turned the corner,” the virus will “go away soon”, etc.
Donald Trump’s ignorance and rejection of medicine and science, and his greed that values the Dow level over the lives of US citizens are driving the pandemic forward. The actions of his followers, the Republican governors, are killing thousands of people who do not need to die. We can’t save everyone from the pandemic, but, with better leadership, we can save tens of thousands more.
We need to vote out Trump and vote in a president who will follow the advice of the medical experts and save tens of thousands of American lives: Joe Biden.
Dr. Leo E. Hanifin, dean emeritus, University of Detroit Mercy