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In Bureaucracy, History, Medical, Politics, Social commentary on February 10, 2023 at 12:22 am

Americans are living through extraordinary times. For many Republicans, who have fought to convince Americans that Coronavirus was simply a Democratic hoax, are now fighting for their lives.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) was the first United Sates Senator to test positive for the virus. But other Republicans have also been forced to self-quarantine.               

Among these:

  • Senator Mitt Romney
  • Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) 
  • Representative David Schweikert (R-AZ)
  • Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) 
  • Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)
  • Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) 
  • Representative Ann Wagner (R-MO) 
  • Senator Rick Scott (R-FL)
  • Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)
  • Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA)
  • Representative Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) 
  • Representative Tom Cole (R-OK) 
  • Representative Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) 
  • Representative Doug Collins (R-GA) 
  • Representative Drew Ferguson (R-GA) 

Of course, Republicans are not the only members of Congress who have gotten Coronavirus.

Democrats have, too—and have self-quarantined:

  • Representative Julia Brownley (CA) 
  • Representative Don Beyer (VA) 
  • Representative John Yarmuth (KY)
  • Representative Ben Ray Luján (NM)
  • Representative Gwen Moore (WI) 
  • Representative Jason Crow (CO)
  • Representative Matt Cartwright (PA) 
  • Representative Stephanie Murphy (FL) 
  • Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice (NY)
  • Democratic Rep. Anthony Brindisi (NY)
  • Democratic Rep. Joe Cunningham (SC)
  • Democratic Rep. David Price (NC) 
  • Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids (KS) 
  • Democratic Rep. Andy Kim (NJ) 
  • Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (TX) 

US Democratic Party Logo.svg

The difference between the two political parties: While Democrats overwhelmingly accept Coronavirus as a deadly reality, a far smaller portion of Republicans do. 

A Pew Research Center study released on March 18, 2020 found that 59% of Democrats called the virus a major threat to Americans’ health.

But only 33% of Republicans agreed.

This despite the fact that medical experts and epidemiologists warned that there was then no vaccination against the virus.

Twelve percent of Democrats believed President Donald Trump was doing a good job handling the crisis and 23% believed Vice President Mike Pence was doing a somewhat or very good job.

But 82% of Republicans said Trump was doing a somewhat or very good job, and 78% said the same for Pence. 

Image result for Public domain images of Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Much of this divide stems from Trump’s initial refusal to take the disease seriously. On February 28, 2020, at a campaign rally in North Charleston, South Carolina, Trump claimed: “Now the Democrats are politicizing the Coronavirus….This is their new hoax.”

Throughout his Presidency, Trump used “hoax” to attack his opponents—such as Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Trump’s collaboration with Russian Intelligence agents during the 2016 Presidential campaign.

And Republicans have utterly tied themselves to him since the 2018 mid-term elections, where many moderate Republicans lost their seats.

According to Toluse Olorunnipa, White House reporter for The Washington Post:

“They have realized that if they’re going to keep their seats, if they’re going to be able to have any future in the party, they have to be completely tied to President Trump and really wait for his call in terms of what exactly they’re going to do.”

Another reason why Republicans—voters and politicians—refuse to take the Coronavirus outbreak seriously lies in their hostile attitude toward higher education.

An August 2019 survey by the Pew Research Center found that 59% of Republicans said higher education has a negative effect on the country.

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Only 18% of Democrats agreed with that.

Three years into the COVID-19 pandemic, attitudes have changed little among Democrats and Republicans. 

According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, released on September 6, 2022:

Democrats often express gratitude for the appearance of vaccines and the speed at which they were developed. They also show respect for science generally.

For Republicans, skepticism toward vaccines is their top response. They also express strong distrust toward the pharmaceutical industry and government officials.  

Democrats emphasize the need for better preparation to deal with future outbreaks of infectious disease. They also speak of the need for greater trust of public health guidance and faster responses.

Republicans agreed that better preparation was necessary—but cited low trust in government officials and a need to avoid shutdowns and prevent limits on individual freedom.

These differences are not without consequences. And they have been especially lethal for Republicans and their Right-wing allies.

An October 6, 2022 report on NBC News stated:

“Covid deaths are unevenly distributed among Republicans and Democrats…

“A study in June, 2022 published in Health Affairs…found that counties with a Republican majority had a greater share of Covid deaths through October 2021, relative to majority-Democratic counties.”

The researchers believed that the refusal of millions of Republicans to get vaccinated might be the biggest reason for the disparity in casualties.

“In counties where a large share of the population is getting vaccinated, we see a much smaller gap between Republicans and Democrats,” said Jacob Wallace, an author of that study and an assistant professor of health policy at the Yale School of Public Health.

But the researchers suggested that the refusal of millions ofRight-wingers to get vaccinated  explained just 10% of the partisan gap in the deaths. Added to this must be their refusal to comply with such public health measures as wearing masks and social distancing.

Thus, Republicans’ contempt for government (unless headed by a Right-winger) and science left huge numbers of them dead—and likely played a major role in electing Joseph R. Biden President in 2020.

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