Tuesday, October 06, 2020

When does partisan affiliation become a COVID risk factor?

Five Senators have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began: Ron Johnson (R-WI), Mike Lee (R-UT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Bill Cassedy (R-LA), and Rand Paul (R-KY). Notice a pattern? That's a 9.4% infection rate among Republican Senators, a shockingly high rate among any population, but especially when contrasts with Democratic Senators' 0% rate.

In the House there are cases on both sides of the party line. The following Reps have tested positive for COVID: Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Jenniffer González-Colón (D-PR), Dan Meuser (R-PA), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Tom Rice (R-SC), Neal Dunn (R-FL), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Joe Cunningham (D-SC), Seth Moulton (D-MA)*, Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Ben McAdams (D-UT). That's 7 Democrats and 8 Republicans, which sounds bipartisan, but Democrats have a 235-199 majority in the House. So House Democrats have a 3.0% infection rate and Republicans have a 4.0% rate.

In Congress overall, Republicans have a 5.2% infection rate to Democrats 2.5%. Yeah, it is only a sample sizes of 538 people. But for Republicans to have twice the infection rate as Democrats is a pretty stark difference.

* Seth Moulton never tested positive but he experienced "COVID-like symptoms" in March. But back then the requirements for getting a COVID test were fairly strict and even with symptoms he did not qualify for testing. He is usually listed as "presumed positive" for COVID even though he never had a confirming positive test result. If we were strict about only counting people who tested positive and take Moulton out of my count, that means Democrat's infection rate would be only 2.6% in the House, 2.1% in Congress overall.