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Covid-19 death rate in Kemp counties now tops that in Abrams counties; case rate trend lines also converging

Here’s a little breaking news on the coronavirus front: The Covid-19 death rate is now higher, collectively, in the Georgia counties that voted for Governor Brian Kemp in 2018 than in those that went for his Democratic opponent, Stacey Abrams. What’s more, the difference in the rate of confirmed cases is narrowing dramatically.

This is a little bit of a surprise. Early on, the virus hit densely-populated urban Democratic precincts much harder than remote, sparsely-populated Republican communities, and there was a good bit of credible speculation that the gap between the two might never fully close.

The New York Times took a deep dive into national data in late May and posited that while case and death rates were rising in conservative areas, it wasn’t “on a scale that would close the gap in the virus’s impact on red and blue counties.”

That’s no longer true in Georgia. The Covid-19 death rate in the 130 mostly rural counties carried by Kemp in 2018 squeaked past that of the 29 largely urban counties that went for Abrams on August 25th.

The Kemp and Abrams death rate trend lines converged through the middle part of August. They were nearly identical by August 24th — 47.52 deaths per 100,000 people in the Abrams counties versus 47.43 in the Kemp counties. The next day, the lines crossed — 48.37 deaths per 100,000 people in the Abrams counties versus 48.52 in the Kemp counties — and they’ve been separating, fairly rapidly, ever since, as the graph above shows.

The Abrams counties have so far suffered more overall deaths than the Kemp counties: 3,095 out of population of 5.67 million versus 2,833 out of a population of 4.95 million. But even that may be changing. Since the Kemp and Abrams death rate trendlines crossed on August 25th, there have been 785 Covid-19 deaths in Georgia. Of those, 353 occurred in the Abrams counties while 432 took place in Kemp country.

While the Abrams counties are still reporting higher rates of confirmed Covid-19 cases than the Kemp counties, those trend lines are also converging. On August 25th — the day the death rate trend lines crossed — the 29 Abrams counties had a combined confirmed case rate of 2316.7 cases per 100,000 while the combined case rate for the 130 Kemp counties was 2178.6, a difference of 6.3 percent. By September 8th, the difference was down to 1.9 percent — 2529.9 cases per 100,000 people for the Abrams counties versus 2483.2 for the Kemp counties.

Put another way, during that August 25-September 8 period, the Abrams counties reported a total of 12,089 new confirmed Covid-19 cases while the Kemp counties reported 15,069 new cases.

These trends can, of course, shift. The recent death and case rate trends appear to have been driven largely by the virus’s Sherman-like march across east-central and southeast Georgia, which is heavily rural and went overwhelmingly for Kemp. All it would take to alter — indeed, reverse — these patterns would be a major outbreak in one or more of the major urban counties.

Still, the current data and trends would appear to put to rest the early thinking that the virus would be satisfied with feasting on Democrats in densely-populated urban areas. It took it a while, but it finally found its way to virtually every corner of the state’s rural areas, which have older, less healthy populations and frailer healthcare delivery systems. Those Republican hunting grounds now appear to be just as fruitful for Covid-19 as the big Democratic cities.

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Mark #

    It really takes a special prick to even think in lines like this. Even a 3rd grader would understand the dense populations would spread the virus faster than rural areas with no distinction between counties. It’s almost like you are saying no one in Kemp areas voted for the Democrat, and no GOP votes were cast in Dekalb County. And why even bring her up as she was the first loser in the election, not first runner up. As best I can remember the call was to flatten the curve, as everyone knew it would spread eventually. Funny you didn’t pull data to show how many of the actual deaths were DEM of GOP. Guess the numbers are bad or not even you would stoop that low?

    Like

    September 10, 2020
  2. john #

    I seriously doubt the virus knows a Democrat from a Republican. Seems it has more to do with population density and demographics – Why politicize this? You sound pleased that more Republicans are dying

    Like

    September 10, 2020
  3. Flubber Yahoo #

    The shithole counties are where covidiots refuse to mask up, so their case rates are trending up while those in more sophisticated urban counties where people are abiding by mask laws are seeing fewer cases. Congratulations covidiots, you’re finally #winning lol!

    Like

    September 10, 2020
  4. Before we had electronic publishing, there used to be editors who would serve to save columnists from allowing their worst instincts to ruin their careers. These days we suffer from a surfeit of editors with good judgement and a surplus of writers without. This article is definitely surplus.

    From my seat here close to the Okefenokee, it appears that about a third of our deaths are from nursing homes where many residents suffering from dementia have “do not resuscitate” in their folders. Instead of Covid treatment they get hospice with palliative care (morphine). That is what my nursing home friends tell me.

    The next largest group are elderly who live in poorer, multi-generational homes that are mostly Hispanic or African-American. I get that from our Public Health Authorities.

    I loath attaching a person’s skin color or ethnicity to how they vote. Mamma said that kind of thinking was rude and, in her mind, not being rude was really the First Commandment. That said, you can “connect the dots” of the demographics I have laid before you and see that not only is your supposition rude, it is likely wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    September 10, 2020
  5. Tish #

    The county’s votes could be used to extrapolate support for 2018 party platforms which the candidates were either a prototypical Trump supporter or not. This implies a majority of county constituents trust Kemp who has undermined high density regions’ desire for tighter restrictions because freedom and not public health data. No compromises, not even with the caveat that freedom to peaceably assemble without a mask comes with the typical pandemic promise of increased risk of death. Anti-science and pro freedom with out encouraging using said freedoms to encourage short term behavior modification is partly justified through a campaign of misinformation from the top. No one has admitted a change in recommendations based on changing numbers or scientific breakthroughs. Nothing had changed since the spring lockdown except the number of cases and number of dead. PPE supplies are still lower than necessary, no breakthrough therapies have emerged, and the economy is still surpressed. God’s country can pray but still ignore what the numbers say about his will and the challenge Ga is facing with other countrymen.

    Like

    September 16, 2020

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