A data-driven blog that uses chart, maps, cartograms, and other visualizations to understand important societal issues.

Elections, Health

COVID-19: America Barely Improving? And the Red vs. Blue Divide

The headline: COVID-19 weekly case rates in the US peaked on April 11th and have steadily declined since. However, the decline is mainly due to New York. Without New York, the country’s peak rate was reached on around May 3rd, with relatively little change since early April.

The chart: The chart illustrates US-wide COVID-19 case rates (weekly cases per million population) for each day from March 13th to May 29th. Each curve represents a different set of US counties. The curves are:

  • Blue curve: Weighted case rates for all Democrat counties (counties that voted for Clinton).
  • Red curve: Weighted case rates for all Republican counties (counties that voted for Trump).
  • Grey curve: Entire US.
  • Four white curves: Weighted case rates for the entire US without New York (top white dashed line), also without New Jersey (next white line), also without Massachusetts (next white line), and finally also without Illinois (lowest white line).

Key highlights:

  • Since the US-wide peak on April 11th, the weekly case rate in Democrat counties has been between 1.7 and 2.5 times worse than in Republican counties.  
  • The overall US-wide decline in the case rate is largely due to New York. For example, the weekly case rate for the US-without-New-York on April 15th was 359 cases per million. On May 23rd, the weekly rate was 382.
  • Removing the four highest-impact states—New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Illinois (i.e., states with both high rates and populations)—pushes the US-wide rate down to roughly the same rate as for Republican counties.
  • The weekly case rate in Republican counties has barely dipped since mid-April. For example, Republican counties had a weekly rate of 287 case per million on April 15th and 286 on May 23rd.

The data: COVID-19 data were collected from USAFacts (https://usafacts.org/visualizations/coronavirus-covid-19-spread-map/).Election data were collected and compiled by Charted Territory.

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