The politicization of disease

It seems that diseases are now either Democrat or Republican. At least whether or not Americans care about getting one is a Democrat or Republican thing. It is truly bizarre that our society has come to this point.

The graph below shows the relative interest in the Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus over the second week of June compared to how each state or district voted in the 2020 presidential election. Click on the image to pop it out and enlarge it for better viewing.

Delta variant vs. Biden Vote

The blue line represents the percent of searches on the term “Delta variant” during the second week of June, 2021 when medical and news sources were talking about how another Covid-19 surge could be hitting the United States led by the Delta variant that originated in India. The data is taken from Google Trends. On the left end, the District of Columbia had the highest percent of searches on that term, so that number was set as a benchmark of 100%. On the far right, the state with the lowest percent of searches on that term, Mississippi, searched on it only 30% or less than one-third as often as those in D.C. The red line is self explanatory: it shows the percent of the popular vote Joe Biden won in the 2020 presidential election in each state. The correlation is unmistakable. Although it’s a gross generalization, it appears that the stronger one supported Donald Trump, the less concern one has about getting Covid. Why? Trump caught the virus and nearly died from it. His oxygenation level was in the 80s, definite ICU territory. He suffered a life-threatening illness. During the campaign he bragged about bringing the vaccines to fruition and he got vaccinated himself. One would expect his followers to, well, follow his example. Somehow, though, ignoring Covid or scoffing at it is the only acceptable attitude for many. Trump could save the lives of many of his followers by coming out publicly encouraging them to get these vaccines he is so proud of.

An acquaintance of mine recently became very sick with symptoms that look very much like Covid-19. He’s one who has bought into the far right conspiracy theories about the deep state and has repeatedly asked me how deep the corruption goes in the FBI, since I’m a retired FBI agent. He has refused to get vaccinated or tested for Covid. He has so far refused to go to a hospital. I don’t wish him ill, but I find it hard to have any sympathy for him, either. I do feel sorry for his wife. If you check my past posts, you’ll see I have called this pandemic an exercise in natural selection. I stand by that characterization.

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