Delta Variant


Instead of looking at the cumulative county-level COVID death rates by 2020 partisan lean since the Delta Variant wave hit the United States in June, the graphs below look at how that has played out for each individual month since then.

Again, the COVID death data comes from Johns Hopkins University for 47 states + DC; the data for Nebraska and Utah comes from the New York Times COVID tracker github; and for Florida, it comes from the White House COVID-19 Team Community Profile Report.

The data does not include the U.S. territories (since they don't vote in the November Presidential election), and it's also missing around 4% of total COVID deaths across the 50 states + DC due to their county of residence being unknown.

With that in mind, here's what the Delta wave has looked like in June, July, August, September, October, November and the first 2 weeks of December 2021:

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Back in early September, I wrote a post which gained quite a bit of attention in which I ran some back-of-the-envelope math to try and answer a question which is cold-hearted and tasteless...but which, nonetheless, many people across the political spectrum have been wondering: What will the real-world impact be on the 2022 midterm elections of the Red/Blue COVID divide?

There's a lot of factors which come into play here, including political messaging, narratives and the like, but let's be perfectly blunt: What people really want to know (whether they admit it or not...some have been cruder in posing the question than others) is whether more GOP or Dem voters are dying of COVID, and how much that will impact the midterms at the ballot box.


I promise this is the last one of these I'll post this week!

The first known U.S. case of COVID-19 has been confirmed to have occurred sometime in December 2019 (the first known U.S. death was on February 6th, 2020).

Assuming the first case was ~December 15th or so, it was roughly 325 days from then until the Presidential Election on November 3rd, 2020, or a little under 11 months.

It's been 327 days from Election Day through September 26, 2021.

In other words, almost exactly as much time has passed in the post-election phase of the COVID pandemic as in the pre-election phase.


A month or so ago I was inspired by a fellow wonk named Christopher Ingraham of The Why Axis to plot out COVID vaccinations, cases and deaths via bar graphs instead of my usual scatter plot graphs.

This morning my most recent update of this analysis was linked to by David Leonhardt of the New York Times.

Today I'm posting updated versions of all three, with some important data/methodology updates:


Two weeks ago I was inspired by a fellow wonk named Christopher Ingraham of The Why Axis to plot out COVID vaccinations, cases and deaths via bar graphs instead of my usual scatter plot graphs.

Today I'm posting updated versions of all three, with two major data updates:

Class Action Movie


As I've been arguing for well over a year now, the COVID-19 pandemic was utterly politicized by the Trump Administration right from the start...and the vaccination effort has similarly been completely politicized by the Republican Party since the moment President Biden took office as well.

Aside from the massive public health fallout, this fact has all sorts of poltiical implications as well, of course. Most of those involve pundits speculating about "the blame game" and so on; will voters in states like Florida and Texas blame their governors for doing everything possible to stymie reasonable pandemic safety measures such as mask mandates, or will they blame the Biden Administration for...I don't know, not tying people to a chair and manually forcing the COVID vaccine into their arms?

For weeks now, however, people have been asking me an even more basic, crass question about the impact of political tribalism on the 2022 midterm election:


I've gotten a lot of attention for my COVID "scatter plot bubble graphs" over the summer, laying out the COVID vaccination and case/death rates across every county nationally (well, mostly; Nebraska has stopped posting county-level data entirely, and Florida has only been posting county-level case data, not deaths, since June).

Data visualization is a tricky thing, though; sometimes line graphs are the way to go (that's what I did last year); other times scatter plots are more appropriate. But some people don't "get" either of these, so today let's look at some bar graphs.


For nearly a year, I posted a weekly analysis of the 100 U.S. counties (out of over 3,100 total) which had the highest cumulative rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths per capita. In addition, I also included a running graph which compared the ratio of COVID cases & deaths per capita between blue and red counties to track how this changed over time.

The results were extremely telling: In the early days of the pandemic back in March/April 2020, the blue counties were devastated for a variety of reasons, including heavy population density, the fact they were mostly located along the coasts (usually in cities with major international ports/airport hubs), and so forth. Democrats tend to live in heavily-populated urban areas, while Republicans are prone to live in more sparsely-populated rural areas, so this made sense.

For the first few months, both case and death rates were running as much as 4-5x higher in counties which voted solidly for Hillary Clinton in 2016/Joe Biden in 2020 than in those which voted for Trump in either 2016 or 2020.