Ocean County, in central New Jersey, is a mixture of beach towns like Barnegat Light and suburban towns like Toms River and Lakewood. Household incomes in the county exceed the US average.
However, Ocean County is one of the places with the least vaccinations In the northeast. Only 53 percent of residents have received at least two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine (or one dose of Johnson & Johnson). Only 26 percent received a booster shot.
The large number of unvaccinated residents in Ocean County has resulted in large numbers of Covid illnesses and deaths. Nearly one in 200 residents has died from the virus. That number is worse than Mississippi, the US state with the largest number of deaths per capita in Covid, and worse than any country except Peru.
What explains vaccine skepticism in Ocean County? Politics, above all. The county has many Republicans. Donald Trump won it by nearly 30 percentage points in 2020, and many Republicans — including those older than 65 and vulnerable to severe Covid-19 — are skeptical about the vaccine.
This partisan split has led to “reddish” phenomenon which I have described in previous newsletters. Today, I have an update.
Blue, then red
First, some background: During the early months of the pandemic, Covid cases and deaths were higher in Democratic areas, possibly because they are home to some of the major international airports. The virus has entered the country on the West Coast and Northeast. But it doesn’t stay there. By the end of Covid’s first year in the US, the virus had spread across the country and there were no significant partisan divisions over the number of deaths.
Only after a vaccine is widely available, in early 2021 – and liberals are much more willing to vaccinate than conservatives – will Covid become a disproportionate disease of the Republican party. By the summer of 2021, the gap has skyrocketed:
As the chart clearly shows, the numbers are even worse in counties where Trump won a landslide than in counties he narrowly won.
This phenomenon is an example of how the country’s political polarization can Everyone’s thinking is changed, even when their personal safety is at stake. It’s a tragedy – and also a preventable tragedy.
A new study by four Harvard epidemiologists estimates that 135,000 unvaccinated Americans died needlessly in the last six months of last year. Recent Texas Tribune file an unvaccinated young couple: She spent 139 days in intensive care; he asks, “Is this my fault?” Both have been vaccinated since then.
There is a big new development. When I last wrote about Red Covid, in November, I told you that the monthly partisan death gap can peakfor two main reasons.
One, the availability of highly effective post-infection treatments, such as Pfizer’s Paxlovid, has been expanding; if they reduce deaths, the reductions can be steepest where fees are highest. Second, red America has perhaps built more natural immunity to Covid – from previous infections – than blue America, as many Democrats have tried harder to avoid virus infection.
Certainly, the partisan gap in the death of Covid is not growing as rapidly as it once was, as you can see from the new closeness between these lines:
During the Omicron wave, the number of deaths in red particles increased less than in blue or purple particles. The most likely explanation seems to be that the number of Trump voters who are vulnerable to severe illness – still huge at the start of last year – has dropped, because many of them have built up some immunity to the virus. Covid from a previous infection.
But don’t make the mistake of confusing a gap that’s no longer growing as fast as a gap that’s shrinking. The gap between red and green America – in terms of cumulative Covid deaths – is still growing. The red line in the second chart is higher than the blue line, which is an indication that more Republicans than Democrats or independents have died from Covid in recent weeks.
Another point to remember: Even in counties with a deep blue coloration, overwhelming numbers of deaths are occurring among unvaccinated or unvaccinated people. Types of vaccines provided amazing protection from a deadly virus, but many Americans have chosen to expose themselves.
Related: Vaccinating and strengthening more elderly people is probably the best strategy to reduce mortality, Sarah Zhang of Atlantic writes. One way to do so: Increase Medicare payments to progressive doctors and hospitals.
Evolution of the virus:
California lays out a plan to treat Covid as a controllable risk that “will stay with us for a while, if not forever.”
This moment feel especially hard for immunocompromised people. “It’s like living behind a curtain.”
Mood in fashion
In recent years, “a polite, well-mannered persona has become a hallmark of New York fashion,” writes Vanessa Friedman. This fashion week, which takes place on Wednesday, welcomes an “anarchic creative energy”.
Shayne Oliver’s sumptuous three days featured numerous straps and leathers. “The bottom line is that garments are actually less energy than they are,” writes Friedman. “They went somewhere, and not just in circles.”
Other standout moments: Julia Fox opens LaQuan Smith show – fresh from her break up with Kanye West — in a miniskirt, and ground-breaking black supermodels Beverly Johnson and Veronica Webb glided down the 80s Sergio Hudson catwalk. Telfar gives a “happening,” combines branded TV projects with fashion.
So what does the new era of New York fashion look like? Check out Eckhaus Latta, which held its show in an old building in midtown Manhattan that is now scheduled for demolition. The mood of the show is celebratory; Friends and family have walked the runway, and the clothing maintains “a particularly cunning intelligence that avoids easy sorting.” A poem was passed from hand to hand: “The future is people walking on the street laughing”. – Sanam Yar, a Morning writer
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/18/briefing/red-covid-partisan-deaths-vaccines.html Red Covid, an update – The New York Times