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Reproduced from Kaiser Family Foundation; Data from The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Republican governors run a big risk — both to public health and their own political fortunes — if they open up their economies too soon, without adequate safeguards.

The big picture: The hardest-hit areas so far have mostly been in states with Democratic governors. But the number of coronavirus cases is now increasing more quickly in states with Republican governors.

By the numbers: Coronavirus cases and deaths are both higher in Democratic states than in Republican ones, even after adjusting for population. 

  • However, over the last two weeks, reported infections have increased 91% in red states versus 63% in blue states. 
  • We see the same pattern for COVID-19 deaths: 170% growth in red states vs. 104% in blue states.

Driving the news: Texas has begun easing its lockdown measures, and other red states are also moving quickly. Florida has reopened some beaches, and some southern states in particular never locked down as tightly as the Northeast and West coast.

  • Yes. but: Every governor wants to open up when they can to get the economy going, and there are some Democratic governors who are also taking steps to ease distancing measures.

Between the lines: The core of the Republican base in white, rural areas is at risk. 

  • 20% of people living in non-metro areas are older than 65, compared with 15% in metro areas.
  • And rural residents under 65 are more likely to have pre-existing health conditions (26%), compared to their urban counterparts (20%).

The bottom line: Polls show that Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to think that the worst is behind us when it comes to COVID-19. 

  • That may be partly because they, and the Republican governors, think this is largely someone else’s problem. It isn’t.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Updated 27 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.
Aug 12, 2020 - World

Lebanon reports coronavirus record: UN warns Beirut blast may drive cases higher

Protesters commemorate on Tuesday the victims of Beirut's Aug. 4 port explosion, which killed at least 158 people and injured some 6,000 others. Photo: Marwan Naamani/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

Lebanon reported on Tuesday seven deaths from COVID-19 and a record 309 new cases, taking the total number of infections to over 7,100.

Why it matters: World Organization official Tarik Jarasevic told a UN briefing in Geneva Tuesday that the displacement of some 300,000 people from the deadly explosion in Beirut's port could lead to a surge in cases. A UN report warns the emergency "has caused many COVID-19 precautionary measures to be relaxed, raising the prospects of even higher transmission rates and a large caseload in coming weeks," Reuters notes.