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There are 4 comments on Rural Mortality Rose during Year Two of Pandemic, despite Vaccines, New Study Finds

  1. This article fails to mention the obvious and now well-documented finding that much of the higher mortality is associated with Republican-led refusals to accept vaccinations.

    Jacob Wallace of Yale School of Public Health and coauthors calculated that in Ohio and Florida the excess death rate for Republicans was 76% higher than for Democrats.

    NBER paper is posted here.

    Presented as “Excess Death Rates for Republicans and Democrats during the COVID-19 Pandemic”
    at American Society of Health Economists, Wednesday, June 14, 2023

    Abstract from the NBER working paper:

    “Political affiliation has emerged as a potential risk factor for COVID-19, amid evidence that Republican-leaning counties have had higher COVID-19 death rates than Democrat- leaning counties and evidence of a link between political party affiliation and vaccination views. This study constructs an individual-level dataset with political affiliation and excess death rates during the COVID-19 pandemic via a linkage of 2017 voter registration in Ohio and Florida to mortality data from 2018 to 2021. We estimate substantially higher excess death rates for registered Republicans when compared to registered Democrats, with almost all of the difference concentrated in the period after vaccines were widely available in our study states. Overall, the excess death rate for Republicans was 5.4 percentage points (pp), or 76%, higher than the excess death rate for Democrats. Post- vaccines, the excess death rate gap between Republicans and Democrats widened from 1.6 pp (22% of the Democrat excess death rate) to 10.4 pp (153% of the Democrat excess death rate). The gap in excess death rates between Republicans and Democrats is concentrated in counties with low vaccination rates and only materializes after vaccines became widely available.”

  2. Isn’t the most obvious explanation that rural areas had much lower population densities and that it subsequently took more time for COVID to spread through the population?

    The paper also does not appear to have any adjustments for age or demographic differences, which we know to be highly consequential for COVID.

    Even so, ascribing any excess mortality difference to vaccine uptake seems, at best, speculative and not supported by this work.

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