A new study has found that nearly twice as many Republicans died from Covid-19 than Democrats did. Did the anti-vax movement cause some of those losses? We will get to that, but first, some background on the new study.

Excess Death Rates for Republicans and Democrats During the Covid-19 Pandemic, which was published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, used both death records and voter registration records to determine the political breakdown of those who died during the pandemic.

Nearly double the number of Republicans died than Democrats did during the pandemic, and the evidence suggests that Republicans who refused the vaccine was a key contributing factor to those deaths.

Early on during the pandemic, the “excess deaths” between Republicans and Democrats were pretty much equal, statistically speaking. That appeared to change after the winter and spring of 2020.

According to the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, “excess deaths are typically defined as the difference between the observed numbers of deaths in specific time periods and expected numbers of deaths in the same time periods.”

The Covid-19 vaccines became available around the end of the Trump administration and became widely distributed during the beginning of the Biden administration. By summer 2021, the study finds that Republican excess deaths had nearly doubled those of Democrats. The disparity in deaths became even more stark during the winter of 2021.

“The gap in excess death rates between Republicans and Democrats is concentrated in counties with low vaccination rates and only materializes after vaccines became widely available,” the study says.

Despite the fact that the initial Covid-19 vaccines were tested and created during Trump’s administration, many Republicans and other right wing independents refused to “get the jab.” Response to the coronavirus pandemic was politicized, and many Republicans refused to take the vaccine, That was mainly due to misinformation and conspiracies spread by various sources and people and a general distrust of the Biden administration.

What does the anti-vax movement have to do with the 2022 midterms? Especially since the pandemic wasn’t even considered to be a major issue in this election cycle?

Well, it could have been a factor in why the Republican’s predicted “red wave” ended up being a mirage. It is easy to speculate that the deaths meant less voters, and ultimately, more losses. Furthermore, whereas the GOP may have had no problem winning districts that were strongly favorable to them, sometimes because of gerrymandering, when votes were being counted statewide or in swing districts, their numbers fell short early and often.

Even though the study didn’t specifically look into the correlation, one of the study’s authors, Jason Schwartz, said that theory could be “plausible.

“If Republicans are dying in increased numbers relative to their Democratic colleagues in a political climate where there are so many close electoral contests, could that have been the decider in a particular race? Our study can’t answer that. But it certainly seems plausible given just how stark the differences in vaccination rates have been, among Democrats and Republicans.”

Again, the researchers can’t make any conclusive remarks about the elections, Schwartz added that the link between party and vaccine uptake is much more clear.

Even though this study can’t make conclusions about any particular race, the questions are worth asking concerning GOP losses, COVID-19 deaths and the anti-vax movement that was popular in the party.