May 22, 2020 - Health

The coronavirus invades Trump country

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Republicans are still less worried about the coronavirus than Democrats or independents, even as it spreads out from primarily urban areas into suburban and rural Republican-leaning areas.

Why it matters: The virus doesn't care about politics or geography. High-risk behavior in places where the virus is spreading is the recipe for an outbreak.

Map courtesy of the Brookings Institute. Note: High-risk counties are counties with at least 100 cases per 100,000 residents, as of May 17.

The big picture: For the last four weeks, counties newly designated as having a high prevalence of coronavirus cases — meaning at least 100 cases per 100,000 people — were more likely to have voted for President Trump than Hillary Clinton in 2016, according to a recent analysis by the Brookings Institution.

  • The most recently identified counties tend to be in the South and the Midwest.
  • Between March 29 and May 17, the portion of Americans living in high-prevalence counties rose from 8% to 79%.

What they're saying: "This suggests that rhetoric from some of the president’s supporters against maintaining public health measures may become more muted, as the nation continues to grapple with the many unknowns about COVID-19’s continued spread," writes William Frey, the author of the analysis.

Yes, but: That's not happening.

  • Republicans are more willing than Democrats or independents to partake in activities that involve interacting with other people, per new polling by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
  • Two-thirds of Republicans said either that the pandemic isn't a major problem or that the "worst is behind us." On the other hand, 70% of Democrats and half of independents said that the "the worst is yet to come."
Data: KFF; Chart: Axios Visuals

The bottom line: How people feel about the coronavirus will undoubtedly impact the kinds of risks they are willing to take, which will in turn impact the extent of future outbreaks.

  • Although it may have been true in February and March that people living in red areas were unlikely to catch the coronavirus while going about their normal lives, it's not true anymore.

Go deeper

21 hours ago - Health

DeSantis says Florida bars and clubs can reopen this week

Outdoor restaurant in Fort Lauderdale on May 18. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday that bars and clubs will be allowed to reopen on Friday, as the state continues to scale down restrictions it put in place because of the coronavirus, WCTV reports.

Why it matters: DeSantis ordered bars and clubs to close in mid-March as one of the first actions the state took to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Updated 9 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

Florida reported on Wednesday its largest number of new novel coronavirus cases in a single day since April 17. 1,317 people tested positive to take the state total to 58,764, per the state's health department. Despite the rise, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said bars and clubs could reopen on Friday.

By the numbers: More than 107,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus and over 1.8 million people have tested positive, per data from Johns Hopkins. More than 479,000 Americans have recovered and over 18 million tests have been conducted.

Coronavirus cases spike in Texas and Arizona

Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise, Naema Ahmed/Axios

Texas, Arizona and Oregon saw significant spikes last week in new coronavirus infections, while cases also continued to climb in a handful of states where steady increases have become the norm.

Why it matters: Nationwide, new cases have plateaued over the past week. To get through this crisis and safely continue getting back out into the world, we need them to go down — a lot.