Republicans who support Donald Trump are in danger. According to National Public Radio (NPR), people living in counties that voted heavily for Donald Trump during the last presidential election are nearly three times as likely to die from COVID-19 as those who live in areas that went for now-President Biden. Also, the stronger a state’s Trump support in the 2020 presidential election, the higher the number of residents suffering a COVID-19 infection. And according to the New York Times, a total of 25 out of every 100,000 residents in counties that voted for Donald Trump died of COVID last October, compared with the 7.8 per 100,000 in counties that voted heavily for Biden.
Why? Because Trump and his Republican supporters have downplayed the COVID-19 threat, refused to wear masks, and discouraged followers from getting vaccinated. The death toll from COVID-19 is much higher among those who rebuff masks and vaccination.
Those who decline masks and vaccination often give one of two reasons: that their leader, Trump, pooh-poohed the danger of COVID-19, and that in refusing to wear a mask or be vaccinated, they are exercising their freedom of choice. The first reason is invalid on its face. Trump’s false or misleading statements totaled 30,573 over his four years in office. According to the Washington Post, “When The Washington Post Fact Checker team first started cataloguing President Donald Trump’s false or misleading claims, we recorded 492 suspect claims in the first 100 days of his presidency. On Nov. 2 alone, the day before the 2020 vote, Trump made 503 false or misleading claims as he barnstormed across the country in a desperate effort to win reelection.” Trump, in short, is, to put it mildly, not a trustworthy source.
The second reason could be considered valid if the danger was limited to that affecting those who refuse to wear a mask or be vaccinated. But those refusers also endanger others because they can infect them. None of us have the right to endanger our neighbor.
It is, therefore, completely valid to hold Donald Trump responsible for the deaths of thousands of his followers. These days, to be a Republican is dangerous to one’s health.