Sat 2022-Feb-26

Masterful Data Journalism on US Political Resistance to COVID-19 Vaccines

Tagged: COVID / PharmaAndBiotech / Politics

Joss Fong at Vox just put together an explainer on political defiance of COVID-19 vaccines in the US. It’s one of the best pieces of data journalism lite (i.e., no equations) and graphic design for explanation that I’ve ever seen.

How American conservatives turned against the vaccine

This is an absolute masterpiece. [1]

The data is meticulously sourced, and the graphics are both minimalist (no pointless jiggling icons) and maximally explanatory (each piece actually makes a good point). Best of all, she openly mocks the fancy news graphics used elsewhere by putting together paper and overlays, connecting the dots with a marker. She can do more with pen and paper than the mainstream media can do with $100 million annual graphics budgets!

She also showed admirable levels of sympathy and compassion when speaking to the surviving family members of conservatives who had died of COVID-19. I hope one day to be as good as her in this respect!

Some important points:

  • Before the vaccines, death rates were the same in red and blue areas.
  • After the vaccines, death rates plummeted as the blue areas got vaccinated and the red states screamed about tracking chips, space alien nanotechnology, and the Mark of the Beast.
  • The unvaccinated death rate continues to swamp the vaccinated death rate by > 15x, all the while screaming on the right that “vaccines don’t work”.
  • The main culprit is Fox News and social media, the only channels trusted by conservatives. If you let them pump high-pressure sewage into your head day after day, then sooner or later you have a head full of crap. This leads to suboptimal decision making.

It’s a beautifully well done explanation of an unbelievably ugly phenomenon.

The gap is real, as Charles Gaba has been pointing out for some time now when he regressed vaccination percent on Trump vote percent in US counties and territories which we emphasized here a few days ago:

Charles Gaba @ ACASignups: animation over time of vax status vs county Trump lean


Notes & References

1: J Fong, “How American conservatives turned against the vaccine”, Vox on YouTube, 2022-Feb-23.

Published Sat 2022-Feb-26

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