Residents of California counties where most voters supported Donald J. Trump in 2020 are dying from COVID-19 at much higher rates than residents of counties where most voters did not, new state data show.
Trump beat Biden by at least 15 percentage points in 16 California counties. About 51 of every 100,000 residents in those counties died from COVID-19 from July through October, according to the latest figures from the California Department of Public Health. By comparison, about 16 of every 100,000 residents in the 23 California counties that backed Biden by a similar margin died from COVID-19 during those same months.
Eight of the 10 California counties with the highest COVID-19 death rates in California from July through October backed Trump over Biden, most of them by a wide margin.
Counties that backed Trump tend to have lower COVID-19 vaccination rates than counties that backed Biden.
About 73% of residents in counties that went strongly for Biden in 2020 were vaccinated with at least one dose by the end of October, state data show. By comparison, about 50% of residents in counties that strongly backed Trump were vaccinated with at least one dose.
The disparity is particularly sharp among the most vulnerable Californians. Residents 65 and older tend to die after contracting COVID-19 much more often than younger people.
Of the 25 counties with the highest vaccination rates among residents 65 and older, just one – Placer County – backed Trump in 2020.
The trend marks a shift from early in the pandemic. Before a vaccine became easily available, counties that backed Trump often – but not always – had lower death rates than counties that backed Biden.
The coronavirus often spreads through person-to-person interaction in crowded spaces, which is more common in urban areas, where Biden tended to enjoy the most support, than in rural areas, where Trump tended to enjoy the most support.