The Politics of Virus: COVID-19 has Fueled Partisan Politics in the USA
The COVID-19 outbreak turned the United States into a tale of “two Americas.” While the nation has been able to defeat the coronavirus in areas with high vaccination rates, those with low vaccination rates, particularly the Red States, continue to see cases and deaths.
As the pandemic is turning into the “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” partisan politics is ripening the matter to an extent that becomes highly irrevocable.
The partisan rift suggests that wearing mandatory masks, social distancing, lockdowns, and vaccination has become one of the most significant points of division between Democrats and Republicans.
Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, there has been a partisan division about how the government should respond to the public health catastrophe.
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The Democrats and Republicans tussle in COVID times has worsened these days where Red States are becoming more COVID-skeptic these days.[/caption]
COVID Outbreak: Partisan Policies are Fueling the Pandemic
The coronavirus being a partisan issue is not a coincidence. Politicians mostly act as opinion leaders who try to construct popular opinion.
The science-skeptic former president Donald Trump downplayed the infection, disregarded medical advice on public health guidelines, and questioned the necessity of wearing a mask.
He spread false obsessive theories regarding the coronavirus, claiming that it is “just like flu” and later on claimed “it is going to disappear, one day it’s like a miracle it will disappear” that it will go away.
It will vanish one day, as though by miracle. While in government, Trump sabotaged efforts to defeat COVID-19.
Likewise, right-wing media also added fuel to the fire by questioning the necessity of rigorous public safety measures like mandatory face masks, lockdowns, social distancing, and stay-at-home orders.
All of this exacerbated the public divide because many Americans perceive these restrictions as a threat to their liberty.
The data is evident. For instance, in New Mexico, Vermont, and Massachusetts, social distancing among Americans is high.
All of them voted for Democrats in the 2020 presidential election. On the other end of the spectrum lies Wyoming, which voted Republicans in the elections and observed the least social distancing.
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With Vaccine hesitancy, people in red states are not taking the jabs resulting in increased number of cases.[/caption]
Vaccine Hesitancy: Data Shows Alarming Signs in Red States:
Vaccine hesitancy plays a dangerous role in the United States, and the issue is a partisan one. With people in the red states thinking that they can better be without jabs, the vaccination rates in those states are declining. And to no surprise, Democratic states are behaving better in receiving inoculations.
For instance, Vermont, Massacheutus, Maine, Connecticut, and Rhode Island are the top five states in the efforts of fully vaccinated people.
Only these five states have vaccination rates of fully vaccinated people above 60 percent. And none of these states voted for Republicans in the 2020 presidential elections.
The same pattern can be seen among the states having the lowest vaccination rates of fully inoculated people.
Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Wyoming, and Louisiana are the five worst states, with rates of fully vaccinated people ranging from 33 to 36 percent. To no surprise, all of these states voted red in the last elections.
This issue of vaccine hesitancy is a classic example of how party leaders can influence the minds of their followers not to pursue some specific path.
Partisan Politics: Different Behavior of Lawmakers
Some American politicians have exploited the pandemic to further their own agendas, putting politics ahead of science and party interests ahead of the people’s interests, resulting in chaos at multiple levels in the fight against the virus.
Democratic policymakers have been more inclined to support strict regulations such as long-term economic closures, restrictions on group gatherings, and mask mandates, whereas Republican policymakers have generally supported more lenient policies.
Instead of a national policy, each state and its governors tackled the crisis in their own unique way, further obstructing pandemic efforts.
After nearly 39000 deaths, according to CDC, and a 650 percent increase in COVID-19 cases, Florida Governor Ron Desantis is selling anti-Fauci merchandise.
A study conducted by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Medical University of South Carolina suggests that states with Democratic governors had the highest rate of COVID-19 infections and deaths early in the pandemic, but later the states with Republican governors outpaced them as the crisis progressed.
The study, which was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, also implies that policy variations between Republican and Democrat-controlled states, including mitigating measures like mask regulations and social distance laws, may have contributed to systematic variances in COVID-19’s public health impact.
As the much more contagious Delta variant and new COVID-19 infections are on the rise in 46 states, seven Republican-controlled states have made it illegal to require the COVID-19 vaccination in public schools, even though children are also susceptible to the coronavirus.