The NYT’s Partisan Tale about COVID and the Unvaccinated is Rife with Sloppy Data Analysis

Source: Outside Voices
by Jeremy Beckham

“A widely shared article recently appeared in The New York Times’[s] ‘The Morning’ newsletter titled ‘Red Covid,’ authored by David Leonhardt. This article, presented as news reporting and not an opinion piece, argues that deaths from COVID-19 are ‘showing a partisan pattern,’ with the worst impacts of the disease ‘increasingly concentrated in red America.’ … One particular claim in the Times‘[s] article caught my attention: that there is a clear and strong association on a county level between COVID deaths and support for Donald Trump in the 2020 election. Specifically, the article alleged that those counties which voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump had more than a four-fold greater mortality rate than those counties which decisively voted against Trump. If true, that would indeed be a striking observation. But, as is often the case with epidemiological observations, the question is more complicated than two variables.” (10/01/21)