How Dallas ranks on COVID deaths

Data: Axios analysis of CDC data; Chart: Will Chase/AxiosData: Axios analysis of CDC data; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

COVID is killing more people per 100,000 in red states than in blue states.

Why it matters: “The COVID-19 pandemic removed any doubt that state policies can affect health outcomes,” Virginia Commonwealth University professor Steven Woolf recently argued in JAMA.

Yes, but: Texas, which is pretty red, ranks just outside the top 25 states in deaths per 100,000 residents, per the CDC.

  • At least 87,328 Texans have died from COVID.

Zoom in: Dallas County ranks 226th in COVID deaths per capita — out of 254 counties overall. Tarrant — whose county judge is Republican — is at 228th and Collin is at 248th.

Between the lines: The partisan gap across the states, measured by deaths above what would normally be expected, was particularly stark during last year’s Delta wave, when all adults had access to vaccines but stark differences emerged between Democrat and Republican vaccination rates.

The bottom line: COVID-19 has proven to be exhaustingly unpredictable in many ways over the last two years. But there’s no doubt that tools like high-quality masks and vaccines reduce the risk of catching the virus, and in the case of vaccines, of dying from it.

  • That means it’s not surprising that once those tools were widely available, counties within Texas with political and cultural aversions to using them were generally hit harder.

The big picture: Gov. Greg Abbott has been buffeted by attacks from his right and left for his performance during the pandemic, but if new hospitalizations and deaths remain down between now and November, Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke will have a harder time convincing voters to head to the polls.