A new study of COVID-19 mortality published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that the U.S. ranked first in COVID deaths per capita among its peer nations. It also analyzed the COVID-19 deaths by state and concluded that if the 10 states with the worst vaccination records had matched the 10 best states, 122,000 deaths would have been avoided. If the whole country had matched the 10 most-vaccinated states, over 266,000 deaths would have been avoided.
The study compared the 10 most-vaccinated states to other advanced countries, including Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. The all-cause mortality rate in these states was lower or equal to those of these countries. The all-cause mortality rate is a better indicator than official COVID-19 deaths because many COVID-19 deaths are labeled wrong. Thus, the U.S. was capable of avoiding COVID-19 deaths as well as any other country but ended up with the worst record in the end because so much of the country was less vaccinated than the best states.
Of course, the reason so many people avoided vaccination is that the Republican Party in general and Donald Trump in particular didn't urge people to get vaccinated. If Trump had said: "Get vaccinated right now and make sure you get the Trump Vaccine, the best vaccine there is," many more people would have gotten vaccinated. Trump could even have made a case that the Moderna vaccine was the "Trump vaccine" because Moderna got a billion dollars from his Operation Warpspeed program to develop a vaccine. Pfizer didn't take federal money to develop its vaccine. Since COVID-19 deaths were far greater in red counties than blue counties, it may well have been a major factor in some narrow Republican losses
Of course, Trump wasn't the only factor here. Anti-vax mentality has been floating around the Republican Party, in particular, for years because Republicans have a strong inclination to be anti-science. This is because once you start believing in science, you will probably start believing in evolution, which is the glue that holds all of modern biology together. And evolution says that the idea that the world was literally created in 7 days just as it is now, with no evolution, is just complete garbage. For many evangelical Republicans, such a conclusion is unacceptable, so they don't trust science. There are, of course, ways of interpreting the Bible that can resolve this, such as thinking of 7 "days" as something more like 7 eons or 7 discrete steps. But that means no longer reading the Bible in literal terms, which then complicates a bunch of other evangelical theology. (V)