There was good news on Wisconsin’s vaccination front as reported in the Wisconsin State Journal.
Door County had the highest rate, with 56.7%, followed by Bayfield County, with 53.0%, and Dane County, with 52.4%.
But there was also some troubling news.
As of Saturday, Taylor County had the state’s lowest vaccination rate, with 21.8% of residents receiving at least one dose, followed by Clark County, with 22.2%, and Rusk County, with 26.4%.
From the uplifting accounts of places where people know the importance of making medically wise decisions to be vaccinated, not only for themselves but for the larger community, is deflated with the numbers showing that many places are not acting in a responsible manner. While there are a number of factors determining vaccination rates be it transportation issues or education differences among varying communities, the most troubling factor to fathom is how partisan politics plays a role about a proven remedy during a pandemic.
Science acts equally in Blue states as it does in Red States. The virus will attack a conservative just as viscously as it will a liberal. The data shows the upside for being vaccinated in Trump Country is as beneficial as in Biden Land. For any rational person, therefore, there is no reason not to heed professional advice and get the shot(s).
But as the Madison paper pointed out the partisan landscape has warped logic.
Polls continue to show more resistance to getting the COVID-19 vaccine among Republicans than Democrats. A Monmouth University poll last week said 43% of Republicans plan to avoid the vaccine, compared with 5% of Democrats, while a Quinnipiac University poll said 45% of Republicans will refuse, compared with 7% of Democrats.
In last year’s presidential election, more than 66% of voters in Clark, Rusk and Taylor counties voted for former Republican President Donald Trump, while Bayfield, Dane and Door counties went for Democratic President Joe Biden, though the race was close in Door County.
This partisan phenomenon is not one just demonstrated in the Badger State. Look at the national data and it is unnerving when considering the increase in COVID cases in half of the states, and the easier transmittable and potent variants that are leading the surge in cases. In the maps below factor in not only where education and science scores are higher…..and where they are lower…but also where Republicans reside, and where Democratic strongholds exist.
The need to even justify why vaccines matter is akin to arguing why phonics matters for the creation of a new reader and speller. But as reported in The New York Times there is ample evidence that red states could read to counter their willful disdain for science and reasoning.
Evidence from abroad underscores the importance of raising vaccination rates. In Britain, some 47 percent of the population has received at least one dose. This vaccination level in combination with lockdowns led new cases there to fall from nearly 60,000 per day in early January to fewer than 3,000 per day now — a 96 percent decline. In the same period, deaths dropped to fewer than 40 a day from about 1,200 — a 97 percent decline, and a much more significant drop than in the United States.
In Israel, over 60 percent of the population has received at least one vaccine dose and deaths have fallen by over 85 percent from the January peak; U.S. deaths fell by more than 75 percent during the same period.
I was again taken back this past week when reading a poll that while only 4% of Democrats say that they will refuse the vaccine, 42% of GOP voters informed the pollsters that they will not get it.
If this was not so damn serious for the health of the nation and the economic engine that must be assisted, we could just say Darwin’s theory is at work. But with travel and intermingling of people, the virus in red counties, if left unchecked, is like pee in the swimming pool. It simply will continue to be everywhere.
And as such, we need to press the need for science to win out over the partisan danger. People need to be vaccinated.
And so it goes.