16 October 2020

Easy prey

The above cartoon is from February -- Pence is featured because Trump had just put him in charge of the US coronavirus response -- and I think we can all agree that it was prescient.  Despite the hard work and dedication of doctors and nurses at great personal risk, the virus found the US an easy target due to Trump's negligence and incompetence, and to the irresponsibility of the "stupid one-third" of the US population.  After eight months, the pandemic is still out of control in much of the country, and with 4% of the world's population we've suffered 22% of the deaths (and that's probably an undercount).

It's of some interest, though, where in the US the disease is hitting hardest.  This map shows number of cases per state relative to state population size (rather than absolute numbers), so it shows the actual level of severity:
With three exceptions (Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota), the states in the hardest-hit category are all solid Republican.  That's superficially surprising because most of these states are heavily rural, with scattered populations.  California, New York, Oregon, Washington, etc. have most of their populations concentrated in dense urban areas which should be more susceptible to a highly-infectious disease like covid-19.  Yet it's states without that vulnerability which are suffering the most.

The reason, of course, is that the factors that made the US easy prey for the virus -- bad leadership and mass stupidity -- are especially evident in the red states.  Blue states at least mostly have competent governors who took effective action as the Trump regime stonewalled, and populations sensible enough to observe the recommended precautions once the danger became obvious.  Red-state governors failed to act or lifted restrictions too early, while all too many of their inhabitants trusted talk radio, pastors, and Trump for information rather than scientists and doctors, and disdained masks and social distancing.  These errors far more than offset the advantage of thinly-scattered population, leaving them with higher per-capita rates of infection than the densely-packed coastal cities.

Elections have consequences.  So does behavior.


Blogger Sixpence Notthewiser said...

Well, trusting crackpot snake oil peddlers, incompetent Repug politicians and an Adderall-addled Russian puppet really helped them, no?
I hope some people really understands now that elections do have consequences. Right, Susan Sarandon?


16 October, 2020 02:28  
Blogger Mike said...

Missouri's governor still doesn't believe masks are necessary. And yes he's had COVID.

16 October, 2020 14:57  
Blogger Geo. said...

You have expressed the problem more clearly than many of the statistics and graphics conflicting each other on the internet --a lifesaving service. Thank you.

17 October, 2020 00:17  
Blogger ellen abbott said...

they're all going for herd immunity. it would help if they understood the concept. herd immunity through vaccination. get enough people vaccinated then infections plummet. in the meantime you take precautions to NOT get infected. herd immunity through rampant infection only makes for a lot of sick and dead people. and then you have the town idiot telling everyone nobody dies from covid anymore, except of course for the ones that do.

17 October, 2020 16:56  
Blogger jenny_o said...

Very interesting graphic - and not surprising. The willful ignoring of the science around covid-19 and how to stop its spread makes me gnash my teeth. Why, people; why?

17 October, 2020 18:41  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Sixpence: I wonder if they'll ever learn. And don't even get me started on Susan Sarandon.

Mike: Most of the Republican leaders are cowards. They don't dare believe the evidence over Trump.

Geo: Thank you for the kind words!

Ellen: If it weren't a disease that killed or permanently maimed people, herd immunity by exposure might even make sense. Unfortunately they don't, as you say, understand the concept. Even after there's a safe vaccine, I suspect so many of them will refuse it that the "red" parts of the US will remain reservoirs of the disease.

Jenny_o: It's the legacy of the country's excessive religiosity and consequent disdain for science and objective reality. And with today's political polarization, they've come to identify science with "the enemy" (us).

Glad to see you around again.

17 October, 2020 20:48  
Blogger Martha said...

I cannot comprehend why people will choose politicians or religious figures over scientists and medical professionals. *shaking head in disbelief*

18 October, 2020 05:30  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

It's a cultural predisposition to disdain science and expertise. Very strange, but there we are.

18 October, 2020 06:01  
Anonymous Kwark said...

Anti-intellectualism has a long and proud history in this country. We seem to be"enjoying" a particularly virulent resurgence thanks to president stupid and, let's not forget, a few generations of Republican efforts to dumb down the electorate.

18 October, 2020 16:34  
Blogger Kay said...

I’m just hoping and hoping that we shall see this slowly change in 2021. It’s going to take a LOT to get the country back out of the morass we are in now due to the present administration. I’m seeing now that Pence really is just as bad as Trump.

19 October, 2020 13:37  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Kwark: There have always been stupid people, but these days they actually act proud of it.

Kay: It should make a big difference if we at least have people in charge who are trying to solve the problems instead of trying to make them worse.

20 October, 2020 01:55  

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