KEY POINTS

  • An analysis by the Associated Press shows that 93% of the counties with the most severe COVID-19 infection spikes voted for Donald Trump
  • Trump has worked hard to downplay the danger of the virus, casting medical experts as his political enemies and the lethal pandemic as no big deal
  • Governors in the South and Midwest warn that unless behaviors change, November and December will only get worse as sections of the national are engulfed by a resurgent virus

As the U.S. continues to shatter daily COVID-19 infection records, the virus is most rampant in counties that voted for Donald Trump.

An analysis by the Associated Press found that 93% of the counties seeing the largest virus surges voted for Trump. AP examined 376 counties that were seeing the largest spikes in COVID-19 infections and had counted 95% of their votes. They found that only 7% had gone for Joe Biden. Most were rural areas in Montana, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Wisconsin.

In those areas, simple antiviral measures like mask-wearing and social distancing are often ignored. Many of them have seen the pandemic be heavily politicized, with Donald Trump framing doctors and researchers recommending safety equipment as political enemies.

Protesters chant "Stop the count" outside an election facility in Detroit, Michigan, after President Donald Trump's campaign said it asked a court to stop counting votes in this pivotal state where Democrat Joe Biden holds a thin lead. Protesters chant "Stop the count" outside an election facility in Detroit, Michigan, after President Donald Trump's campaign said it asked a court to stop counting votes in this pivotal state where Democrat Joe Biden holds a thin lead. Photo: AFPTV / Gilles CLARENNE

Opinion polling also shows a stark divide between the political camps: One in three Trump supporters said the pandemic was mostly or completely under control. Only one in four said that the pandemic was the most important issue to them, half the number of those who prioritized the economy. Meanwhile, 82% of Biden voters described the pandemic as not at all under control.

Michaela Lane, a 25-year-old Republican voter, was interviewed by AP as she dropped off her ballot in Arizona. 

“I feel like the most important issue facing the country as a whole is liberty at large,” Lane told them. “Infringing on people’s freedom, government overrule, government overreach, chaos in a lot of issues currently going on and just giving people back their rights.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. has broken new case records for the second day in a row with 121,000 new infections on Thursday. It was only Wednesday when the U.S. first broke the 100,000 threshold, considered a critical point at the time, CNN reports.

The average death rate is almost 900 people daily, according to Johns Hopkins data. While death spikes tend to lag behind infections, three states were already recording new daily highs on Thursday: New Mexico, North Dakota and Tenessee.

A medical worker rests in front of a fan in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas A medical worker rests in front of a fan in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas Photo: GETTY IMAGES / Go Nakamura

Governors across the country, especially in the South and Midwest, have been warning their constituents that their actions have consequences. 

Utah’s Governor Gary Herbert said the infection rates were “grim news,” predicting his state would continue to experience "this dramatic increase, unless we modify and change our behavior."

New Mexico’s Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said they were "not trending anywhere in the right direction.”

"If we don't [follow safety guidelines], more drastic decision-making will occur, and we will have a horrible November and a dramatically bad December," said Lujan Grisham