Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Partisan reaction to uneven COVID spread

By Dante Chinni

NBC News

WASHINGTON — The spread of the COVID-19 virus has not occurred evenly around the country. Urban areas, such as New York City, have been harder than rural locales and that difference in impacts follows some of the deep partisan political splits in the country.

Democrats and Republicans seem to be experiencing the coronavirus differently and that may be playing a role in how they see the pandemic – at least for now.

As of Friday this week, there were more than 102,000 confirmed cases of the virus in the United States and roughly 1,700 counties had at least one confirmed case, according to data from USAFacts, which is updating maps of virus data daily. But look at those numbers through the prism of the 2016 election and they are hitting Democratic-leaning counties much harder.

About 77 percent of those confirmed cases were in the 490 counties that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. And the overwhelming majority of those Clinton counties, 81 percent, had at least one case. Meanwhile, there were more than 2600 counties that voted for President Trump in 2016, but they hold only 19 percent of the cases. On the whole, only 50 percent of those Trump counties have a single case.

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