Politics and the Spread of COVID-19 in the United States

Main Article Content

Don Albrecht


Analysis of U.S. counties revealed that political views were strongly related to COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 residents. Death rates were much higher in counties that strongly supported Trump in the 2020 presidential election than in counties where he received a lower proportion of the vote. The relationship between political views and COVID-19 deaths remained strong in regression models after other relevant variables were statistically controlled. The relationship between political views and COVID-19 deaths rates was especially strong after vaccines were generally available to the general public. Results from this study indicate that persons in Trump leaning counties tended to not follow the advice of health experts, including wearing masks, social distancing, and getting vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. Such actions resulted in thousands of unnecessary deaths.

Article Details

How to Cite
ALBRECHT, Don. Politics and the Spread of COVID-19 in the United States. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 10, n. 2, feb. 2022. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <https://esmed.org/MRA/mra/article/view/2681>. Date accessed: 30 june 2022. doi: https://doi.org/10.18103/mra.v10i2.2681.
Research Articles


1. Kelly, John. The Great Mortality. New York: Harper Collins; 2021.

2. Loomis, Joshua. Epidemics: The Impact of Germs and Their Power over Humanity. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger; 2018.

3. Barry, John M. The Great Influenza. New York: Penguin Books; 2005.

4. Hatchett, R.J., Mecher, C.E. and Lipsitch, M. Public Health Interventions and Epidemic Intensity During the 1918 Influenza Pandemic. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2007; 104(18): 7582-7587.

5. Lewis, Michael. 2021. The Premonition. New York: W.W. Norton; 2021.

6. Morens, David M. and Anthony S. Fauci. The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Insights for the 21st Century. Journal of Infectious Diseases 2007; 195(7): 1018-1028.

7. Quammen, David. Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic. New York: Norton; 2012.

8. Quick, Jonathan D. and Bronwyn Fryer. The End of Epidemics. New York: St. Martins Press; 2018.

9. Webster, R.G., K.F. Shortridge, and Y. Kawaoka. Influenza: Interspecies Transmission and Emergence of New Pandemics. Immunology and Medical Microbiology 1997; 18(4): 275-279.

10. Schuchat, A., Covid, C.D.C. and Team, R. Public Health Response to the Initiation and Spread of Pandemic COVID-19 in the United States, February 24–April 21, 2020. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2020; 69(18): 551.

11. Omer, S.B., Malani, P. and Del Rio, C. The COVID-19 Pandemic in the US: A Clinical Update. JAMA 2020; 323(18): 1767-1768.

12. Bruine de Bruin, W., H.W. Saw, and D.P. Goldman. Political Polarization in US Residents’ COVID-19 Risk Perceptions, Policy Preferences, and Protective Behaviors. Journal of Risk Uncertainty; 2020. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11166-020-09336-3

13. Hamilton, L.C. and Thomas Safford. Conservative Media Consumers Less Likely to Wear Masks and Less Worried about COVID-19. 2020; Carsey Perspectives, September 1: University of New Hampshire.

14. Conway, E.M. and N. Oreskes. 2012. “Why conservatives turned against science.” Chronicle Review, 2012; November, 5.

15. Gauchat, G. 2012. Politicization of science in the public sphere: A study of public trust in the United States, 1974 to 2010. American Sociological Review 2012; 77(2): 167-187.

16. Hamilton, L.C. Conservative and liberal views of science, does trust depend on topic? University of New Hampshire, Carsey School of Public Policy, 2015; Regional Issue Brief # 45.

17. Hamilton, L.C., J. Hartter, and K. Saito. Trust in Scientists on Climate Change and Vaccines. 2015; Sage Open.

18. McCright, A.M., Dentzman, K., Charters, M. and Dietz, T. The Influence of Political Ideology on Trust in Science. Environmental Research Letters, 2013; 8(4): 044029.

19. Mooney, C. The Republican War on Science. Hachette, UK; 2007.

20. Dunlap, R.E. and A.M. McCright. A Widening Gap: Republican and Democratic View on Climate Change. Environment 2008; 50: 26-35.

21. Oreskes, N. and E.M. Conway. Merchants of doubt: How a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing; 2011.

22. Nadelson, L.S. and Hardy, K.K. Trust in science and scientists and the acceptance of evolution. Evolution: Education and Outreach, 2015; 8(1): 9.

23. Evans, J.H. and E. Hargitta. Who Doesn’t Trust Fauci? The Public’s Belief in the Expertise and Shared Values of Scientists in the COVID-19 Pandemic. Socius 2020; 6: 2378023120947337

24. Rocklöv, J. and H. Sjödin. 2020. High Population Densities Catalyze the Spread of COVID-19. Journal of Travel Medicine, 2020; 27(3): taaa038.

25. Albrecht, D.E. COVID-19 in Rural America: Impacts of Politics and Disadvantage. Rural Sociology 2021; 86: 1-25.

26. Albrecht, D.E. The Nonmetro Vote and the Election of Donald Trump. Journal of Rural Social Sciences 2019; 34(1): Article 3.

27. Hsiehchen, D., M. Espinoza, and P. Slovic. Political partisanship and mobility restriction during the COVID-19 pandemic. Public Health 2020; 187: 111-114. ISSN 0033-3506, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.puhe.2020.08.009.

28. Barrios, John M. and Yael Hochberg. Risk Perception Through the Lens of Politics in the Time of COVID-19 Pandemic. National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper 2020; 27008.

29. Hill, T., K.E. Gonzalez and A. Davis. The Nastiest Question: Does Population Mobility Vary by State Political Ideology During the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic? Sociological Perspective, 2020; 64(5): 786-803.

30. Hill, T. K.E. Gonzalez and A. Burdette. The Blood of Christ Compels Them: State Religiosity and State Population Mobility During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic. Journal of Religion and Health, 2020; 59: 2229-2240.

31. Perry, S.L., A.L. Whitehead, and J.B. Grubbs. Culture Wars and COVID‐19 Conduct: Christian Nationalism, Religiosity, and Americans’ Behavior During the Coronavirus Pandemic. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 2020; 59(3): 405-416.

32. Graham, B.S. Rapid COVID-19 Vaccine Development. Science, 2020; 368(6494): 945-946.

33. Isaacson, W. The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race. New York: Simon and Schuster; 2021.

34. Le, T.T., Z. Andreadakis, A. Kumar, R.G. Román, S. Tollefsen, M. Saville, and S. Mayhew. The COVID-19 Vaccine Development Landscape. Nat Rev Drug Discov 2020; 19(5): 305-306.

35. CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention). CDC.gov/coronavirus/2019; 2021.

36. Thomas, S.J., Moreira Jr, E.D., Kitchin, N., Absalon, J., Gurtman, A., Lockhart, S., Perez, J.L., Pérez Marc, G., Polack, F.P., Zerbini, C. and Bailey, R. Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine through 6 Months. New England Journal of Medicine, 2021; 385: 1761-73.

37. Harris, J.E. COVID-19 Incidence and Hospitalization Rates are Inversely Related to Vaccination Coverage Among the 112 Most Populous Counties in the United States. medRxiv, 2021.

38. Gupta, S., Cantor, J., Simon, K.I., Bento, A.I., Wing, C. and Whaley, C.M. Vaccinations Against COVID-19 May Have Averted Up To 140,000 Deaths in The United States: Study Examines Role of COVID-19 Vaccines and Deaths Averted in the United States. Health Affairs, 2021; 40(9): 1465-1472.

39. Romer, D. and Jamieson, K.H. Conspiracy Theories as Barriers to Controlling the Spread of COVID-19 in the US. Social Science & Medicine, 2020; 263: 113356.

40. Fridman, A., Gershon, R. and Gneezy, A. COVID-19 and Vaccine Hesitancy: A Longitudinal Study. PloS one, 2021; 16(4): p.e0250123.

41. Albrecht, D.E. Vaccination, Politics and COVID-19 Impacts. BMC Public Health; 2022; 22: 96.

42. Mulligan, K. and Harris, J.E. COVID-19 Vaccination Mandates for School and Work are Sound Public Policy. Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, University of California; 2021.

43. Campos-Mercade, P., Meier, A.N., Schneider, F.H., Meier, S., Pope, D. and Wengström, E. Monetary Incentives Increase COVID-19 Vaccinations. Science, 2021; 374: 879-882.

44. Jardina, Ashley. White Identity Politics. Cambridge University Press; 2019.

45. Hochschild, Arlie Russell. Strangers in Their Own Land. New York: The New Press; 2016.

46. Sun, Y. and Monnat, S.M. 2021. “Rural‐Urban and Within‐Rural Differences in COVID‐19 Vaccination Rates. The Journal of Rural Health, 2021; 37: 1-7.

47. Hughes, M.M., Wang, A., Grossman, M.K., Pun, E., Whiteman, A., Deng, L., Hallisey, E., Sharpe, J.D., Ussery, E.N., Stokley, S. and Musial, T. County-Level COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage and Social Vulnerability—United States, December 14, 2020–March 1, 2021. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 2021; 70(12): 431.

48. New York Times. 2021. NYTimes/COVID-19-data. Downloaded May 1, 2020, March 1, 2021 and December 1, 2021.

49. New York Times. 2020. NYTimes/election-data. Downloaded December 20, 2020.