The New York Times appears to be reluctantly admitting that Republican (“Red”) counties across the United States have developed more lasting, long-term immunity against COVID-19 than their Democratic or “Blue” counterparts.
In today’s ‘The Morning‘ flagship e-mail newsletter, NYT columnist David Leonhardt concedes:
There is one big new development. When I last wrote about red Covid, in November, I told you that the month-to-month partisan mortality gap might be peaking, for two main reasons.
One, the availability of highly effective post-infection treatments, like Pfizer’s Paxlovid, has been expanding; if they reduce deaths, the drop may be steepest where the toll is highest. Two, red America has probably built up more natural immunity to Covid — from prior infections — than blue America, given that many Democrats have tried harder to avoid getting the virus.
Sure enough, the partisan gap in Covid deaths is no longer growing as fast it had been, as you can see from the new closeness among these lines:
Later in the article, he claims:
But don’t make the mistake of confusing a gap that’s no longer growing as rapidly as it was with a gap that is shrinking. The gap between red and blue America — in terms of cumulative Covid deaths — is still growing. The red line in that second chart is higher than the blue line, which is a sign that more Republicans than Democrats or independents have needlessly died of Covid in recent weeks.
The claims all fail to take into account the double-digit partisan age gap in people between the ages of 19 and 34, instead attributing the differences to vaccines and social distancing measures alone. In what feels more like product placement than journalistic copy, Leonhardt concludes: “The vaccines offer incredible protection from a deadly virus, yet many Americans have chosen to leave themselves exposed.”
Pfizer spent millions of dollars on advertising in 2021, including on full-page advertisements in the New York Times, which can cost up to a quarter of a million dollars per day, depending on the day and placement. The paper does not disclose its financial interests in Pfizer as a customer when writing copy that includes phrases such as “The vaccines offer incredible protection from a deadly virus.”