Back in 2021 when I was posting weekly (and later, monthly) analysis of COVID vaccination rates at the county level, several counties in particular caught my eye for different reasons. One of these was Marin County, California. As I noted at the time:

Of counties with more than 100,000 residents, the top-vaxxed are Marin County, CA (76.9% vaxxed); Sumter County, FL (76.4%); and Montgomery County, MD (76.2% vaxxed).

Ironically, prior to the COVID pandemic, ultra-liberal Marin County (Trump only received 16% of the vote here) happened to be one of the birthplaces of the recent "anti-vaxx movement" resurgence...

As explained by Soumya Karlamangla in the New York Times / Buffalo News last fall:

via the Maryland Insurance Administration:

The national COVID-19 Public Health Emergency is scheduled to end on May 11, 2023.

What does that mean for your health insurance coverage? Here is what to expect with regard to COVID-19 Testing, Vaccinations, and Treatments.


As I noted last month, as we've reached the 3rd anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic hitting U.S. shores and with the Public Health Emergency winding down, it's become more & more difficult for data analysts and researchers to acquire comprehensive, county-level data about cases, hospitalizations, deaths, vaccinations and so forth.

In particular, at least three major sources of this data have either announced that they're shutting down their data tracking projects or have already done so, including Johns Hopkins University, the White House COVID-19 Community Profile Report and the New York Times.

With two of these already discontinued and the third set to do so within the next few weeks, this story is somehow even more depressing to me (via Robert King at Fierce Healthcare; h/t Katherine Hempstead for the heads up):

NOTE: With the news that the Johns Hopkins University COVID Tracking project & other reliable data sources are shutting down on March 10th, this may be the last update to this project, although I may be able to find alternatives for county-level COVID deaths.

As of this writing, 69.3% of the total U.S. population has completed their primary COVID-19 vaccination series (including 94.3% of those 65+), but a mere 16.2% of the total population has also gotten their updated bivalent booster shot. Even among seniors it's only at 41.4% nationally.


Last month I noted that the partisan COVID death rate gap, which had been shrunk down to almost nothing in December for the first time since COVID vaccines became widely available back in May 2021, had started to widen again:

Well, the lines didn't flip after all in January--the reddest quintile jumped up faster than the bluest quintile after all--two months earlier than I expected:

Bluest Quintile: 4.70 per 100K residents

Reddest Quintile: 5.33 per 100K residents (13% higher)

The January gap wasn't that significant by itself...except that it had looked like the rate in the reddest quintile might be lower last month.

Sure enough, the COVID death rate gap between the reddest and bluest fifths of the country widened out more in February, with the rate in the reddest quintile running 63% higher than the bluest quintile (4.22/100K vs. 2.39/100K). The rate actually dropped from January to February in every quintile, but it dropped considerably more in the bluest fifth (to the lowest rate since April 2022) than the reddest.

NOTE: With the news that the Johns Hopkins University COVID Tracking project is shutting down on March 10th, this may be the second to last update to this project, although there are other outlets tracking county-level COVID deaths which will likely continue to do so.

As of this writing, 69.2% of the total U.S. population has completed their primary COVID-19 vaccination series (including 94.2% of those 65+), but a mere 15.8% of the total population has also gotten their updated bivalent booster shotEven among seniors it's only at 40.8% nationally.


Last month I noted that the partisan COVID death rate gap, which had been significantly higher in the reddest U.S. counties than the bluest counties every month since July 2020, appeared to be on the verge of finally disappearing entirely:

The initial COVID wave in March - May 2020, of course, devastated Blue America, primarily densely populated (and heavily Democratic) New York and New Jersey, while leaving Red America (mostly sparsely populated, rural Republican counties) relatively unscathed.

This situation quickly began to reverse itself only a few months later. Starting in July 2020--the same month the Vanity Fair expose was published, as it happens--the situation had already reversed itself: The reddest fifth of the U.S. was already experiencing a higher COVID death rate than the bluest fifth...and it has stayed that way ever since.

Yesterday evening, the Health & Human Services Office of Intergovernmental & External Affairs sent out this notice from the Biden Administration:


  • H.R. 382 – A bill to terminate the public health emergency declared with respect to COVID-19 (Rep. Guthrie, R-KY, and 19 cosponsors)
  • H.J. Res. 7 – A joint resolution relating to a national emergency declared by the President on March 13, 2020 (Rep. Gosar, R-AZ, and 51 cosponsors)

The COVID-19 national emergency and public health emergency (PHE) were declared by the Trump Administration in 2020. They are currently set to expire on March 1 and April 11, respectively. At present, the Administration’s plan is to extend the emergency declarations to May 11, and then end both emergencies on that date. This wind-down would align with the Administration’s previous commitments to give at least 60 days’ notice prior to termination of the PHE.

As I noted earlier this week, there's been a lot of renewed buzz recently about an article at Vice Media regarding the partisan divide in COVID death rates over the past couple of years.

I admit to not really understanding why the Vice story is making the rounds this week in particular. The article is from mid-November, and the study by researchers at the National Bureau of Economic Research which it references was first published in early fact I wrote about it at the time.

The other thing which caught my eye recently is this viral tweet:

Every 10 days, more that 8,000 unvaccinated Republican voters are dying of COVID-19, five times the rate for Democrats, who have had at least 2 vaccination shots.

(sigh) Last month I posted what I assumed would be my final update of the red/blue and vaccination-level COVID death rate breakouts, but apparently that wasn't meant to be. For one thing, the latest variant, XBB.1.5 (some are calling it "Kraken" but I don't think that's anything official) has reared its head in the northeast. For another, there's been a renewed interest (at least on Twitter, anyway) in an article at Vice Media about the topic.

I'll be posting a second entry addressing that article, the study it cites, and some misinformation about the red/blue divide later this week, but first, let's take a look at where things stand as of mid-January.