New York Personal Injury Law Blog » Coronavirus, COVID19, Politics


March 24th, 2020

Will Red-Staters Be Hit Hardest by the Virus?

I hate to delve into politics outside my wheelhouse, mostly on the fear that if I start I may never stop. But New York’s civil courts have ground to a virtual halt due to COVID-19, with all conferences and legal filings halted except for emergencies.

And so I venture for a moment into a different space as I watched Trump be dismissive of the virus for at least 51 days — from a January 22nd interview (“It’s going to be just fine…We have it totally under control” until his March 13 declaration of emergency. And now prematurely discussing people going back to work against the advice of medical professionals.

With this backdrop I think that the folks most likely to be affected are going to be Trump supporters and red-staters. These are the reasons:

First, there are higher percentages of smokers in red states making them more susceptible to the consequences of viral infection;

Second, this population is more likely to believe (at the outset) that the virus is a hoax and, therefore, not take precautions;

Third, this population is less likely to take the advice of government officials, as Trump has talked incessantly about the Deep State out to get him.

Fourth, red states are generally poorer and, therefore, have fewer people with health insurance;

Fifth, red staters have generally lower education levels and are less likely to pay attention to the warnings;

Sixth, with the virus first hitting (predictably) urban areas like Seattle and New York City, many folks will be delayed in thinking that this could really affect them.

Now toss into the mix a few other factors: Coal mining country is chock full of people with lung disease. A particular problem for parts of Pennyslvnia, Ohio, West Virginian, Kentucky and Indiana (among others).

And the Bible Belt could be hit also due to the communal nature of religious congregations. The ultra orthodox Hasidic community has already seen this. The virus, of course, knows no religion. It merely spreads with opportunity.

For many, many people the reality of the virus won’t truly hit home until someone they know has been affected. (In an odd way, this is similar to the advance of gay rights — most people were opposed until they realized that people close to them were gay.)

I would, it should go without saying, hope to be very wrong and that the virus vanishes with people social distancing themselves from each other. This is one of those situations where there is no us/them divide, as anyone can infect anyone else. But humans are social animals, and we gather for dinners, a beer, a religious observance or a ball game among a thousand other scenarios.

Putting together a group that both takes the situation the lightest (generally red-staters), and those most at risk for health reasons (again, generally red-staters) may prove to be a very deadly combination. For all of us.

And on the political front — and this is my only political comment — betrayal is a hell of a thing.

10 thoughts on “Will Red-Staters Be Hit Hardest by the Virus?

  1. In Oklahoma, Governor Stitt’s last night (03/25) issued an order advising state-wide social distancing. Bars, restaurants, movie theaters, etc. are allowed to remain open, but people are discouraged from patronizing them. Detection tests are rationed here to those exhibiting advanced symptoms of the disease.

  2. I believe you’re wrong. One single factor will weigh more heavily than all those you listed. The blues are clustered together in dense city centers. That’s an enormous liability.

    • That urban centers are more generally blue is a factor, for sure. Density is no doubt a problem. But they are also more likely to react, I think, than suburban and rural areas.

      We’ll probably know better in six months. I hope I’m wrong and the virus peters out.

  3. I tend to agree, Eric. Unless one lives in the deep red regions, or routinely visits them (as I have done), you have very little idea of the profusion of media presentations supporting the blatherings of Donald J. Trump, MD (Mighty Dense), and his echo chamber and sock puppets, that washes over the landscape continually. They have been told repeatedly that the problem is minimal, and really only a political hoax perpetrated by their mortal enemy, “the libs”. As I understand it, with herd susceptibility eventually comes herd immunity, so the density factor may work both ways over time. We have yet to see the infection breakout Eric posits.

    • ADDENDUM: In recent days there have surfaced two strains of nutjob intending to actually spread the virus around. 1) A neo-Nazi cult with the intent to bring down the current civilization because its successor will then surely be all white; 2) The kind of religious whacko intent on getting to the “end times” ASAP. Although the crackpots in case 1 are mostly from red states, their anger is focused on the blue states, so their impact may not be so clearly seen by locale. Case 2 will be primarily in the red states. Care to handle a few rattlesnakes?

      • I could see prosecutors going after them under an assault charge of some kind, depending on the fact situation, for deliberately trying to cause physical injury to another.

        But how does one arrest such a person?

        • Infiltration. The political blog “Talking Points Memo” has an item about one such Himmler wannabee whose idea was to blow up a hospital. I guess he didn’t have a ready supply of covid-19 to use. FBI took him down with a sting about the bomb, also shooting him in the process.