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Houston State Rep Wishes Death on Republicans
Gene Wu, stokes COVID propaganda and fear.
Gene Wu, a Chinese-American lawyer and Democrat Representative from Houston, wished death on Republicans via his Twitter account yesterday.
This wouldn’t be the first time Wu has wished or celebrated death on people through COVID.
To cite his claim that Republicans died more from COVID, Wu links to a study in an NPR article where they state that Republicans’ excess death rate spiked after COVID-19 vaccines arrived.
Seemingly, Wu didn’t read the article, since NPR itself lists problems with the study.
The researchers note that their study has several limitations, including the chance that political party affiliation "is a proxy for other risk factors," such as income, health insurance status and chronic medical conditions, along with race and ethnicity.
The study focused only on registered Republicans and Democrats; independents were excluded. And because the researchers drilled into data in Florida and Ohio, they warn that their findings might not translate to other states.
The researchers' data also did not specify a cause of death, and it accounts for some 83.5% of U.S. deaths, rather than the entire number. And because data about the vaccination status of each of the 538,159 people who died in the two states wasn't available, researchers could only go as granular as the county level in assessing excess deaths and vaccination rates.
There’s also the fact that the majority of COVID deaths were from people aged 65+, and Republicans are overwhelmingly the majority of that age bracket.
Wu likes to talk about the science, but he doesn’t seem to understand it. The chart above is found in the study cited by NPR. The dots represent bins of 8 counties with similar vax rates that are grouped together. The color blue represents registered Democrats, and the yellow-orange color represents registered Republicans. It’s unclear from the notes in the study, but the shaded areas appear to be 95% prediction intervals (similar to a confidence interval). Notice how there is a white-colored gap between the 20% vax rate and 35% vax rate. This suggests there may be a statistically significant difference.
However, notice how once the vax rate rises above 40%, the gap disappears, which suggests there is no longer a statistically significant difference. Now, isn’t that strange? If the vax were really causing a difference in excess mortality, wouldn’t we expect the difference to get bigger as the vax rate rises towards 50%?
Doesn’t it seem more likely that the difference is driven by other factors that the study did not control, and which the study authors themselves suggest could be the case?
However, one alternative explanation is that political party affiliation is a proxy for other risk factors (beyond age, which we adjusted for) for excess mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as rates of underlying medical conditions, race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or health insurance coverage,26-29 and these risk factors may be associated with differences in excess mortality by political party, even though we only observed differences in excess mortality after vaccines were available to all adults.
Additionally, the study itself states there was no effect in Florida.
In analyses that pooled data from March 2020 to December 2021, Republican voters in Florida did not have a statistically significantly higher excess death rate than Democratic voters in Florida.
So if the vax really works so well, how come there was no detectable effect in Florida? Could it be that, as the study suggested, other factors associated with party registration could be causing this? Other factors would explain why there was no detectable effect in Florida and also explain why the gap in the above graph vanished at higher vaccination rates. For instance, it could be that Republican voters in Ohio are disproportionately blue-collar and were more likely to be called in to work immediately after the lockdowns ended, thus exposing them to COVID sooner and causing a higher mortality rate. Or it could be that the elderly Republicans in Ohio had different underlying medical conditions, socioeconomic status, or health insurance coverage compared to the Democrats? All these factors affect mortality rates.
Maybe the easiest answer here is not to take medical advice from a guy who looks like this:
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