The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) is a peer-reviewed medical journal published 48 times a year by the American Medical Association (AMA). They don’t cover political topics; they cover medical topics. As for the AMA, it contributes a lot of money to campaigns, but pretty evenly between the parties. In the last cycle, the DCCC, DSCC, NRCC and NRSC got $30,000— $60,000 for the GOP and $60,000 for the Democrats. They also gave $10,000 pops to members of Congress they thought could help them on their issues— to a wide array of candidates, from Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Steve Scalise (R-LA), Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and John Thune (R-SD) to Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Jim Clyburn (D-SC), Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Patty Murray (D-WA) and Richie Neal (D-MA). They also give to members who are doctors, regardless of party.
As far as I can tell, JAMA has no partisan slant. In fact, I was surprise they even handled this topic this week Excess Death Rates for Republican and Democratic Registered Voters in Florida and Ohio During the COVID-19 Pandemic. They picked two states with Republican governors and with overwhelmingly Republican state legislatures, each crawling with crackpot conspiracy nuts. The result was higher death rates than in other states, especially in the case of Florida, which had the worst death rate of any state in the country. But the JAMA study doesn’t compare Ohio and Florida to other states. It compares Democrats to Republicans inside each state.
The goal was to find out if political party affiliation was a risk factor associated with excess mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic in the two states. And it was. They “evaluated 538,159 deaths in individuals aged 25 years and older in Florida and Ohio between March 2020 and December 2021, excess mortality was significantly higher for Republican voters than Democratic voters after COVID-19 vaccines were available to all adults, but not before. These differences were concentrated in counties with lower vaccination rates, and primarily noted in voters residing in Ohio. The differences in excess mortality by political party affiliation after COVID-19 vaccines were available to all adults suggest that differences in vaccination attitudes and reported uptake between Republican and Democratic voters may have been a factor in the severity and trajectory of the pandemic in the US.”
Between January 1, 2018, and December 31, 2021, there were 538,159 individuals in Ohio and Florida who died at age 25 years or older in the study sample. The median age at death was 78 years (IQR, 71-89 years). Overall, the excess death rate for Republican voters was 2.8 percentage points, or 15%, higher than the excess death rate for Democratic voters. After May 1, 2021, when vaccines were available to all adults, the excess death rate gap between Republican and Democratic voters widened from −0.9 percentage point to 7.7 percentage points in the adjusted analysis; the excess death rate among Republican voters was 43% higher than the excess death rate among Democratic voters. The gap in excess death rates between Republican and Democratic voters was larger in counties with lower vaccination rates and was primarily noted in voters residing in Ohio.
…Before the pandemic, excess death rates for Republican and Democratic voters were centered around 0. In the winter of 2021, both groups experienced sharp increases of similar magnitude in excess death rates. However, in the summer of 2021, after vaccines were available to all adults, the excess death rate among Republican voters began to increase relative to the excess death rate among Democratic voters; in the fall of 2021, the gap widened further. Between March 2020 and December 2021, excess death rates were 2.8 percentage points (15%) higher for Republican voters compared with Democratic voters (95% PI, 1.6-3.7 percentage points). After April 1, 2021, when all adults were eligible for vaccines in Florida and Ohio, this gap widened from −0.9 percentage point (95% PI, −2.5 to 0.3 percentage points) between March 2020 and March 2021, to 7.7 percentage points (95% PI, 6.0-9.3 percentage points) in the adjusted analysis, or a 43% difference.
…During the initial years of the COVID-19 pandemic, political party affiliation in the US was associated with excess death rates in Florida and Ohio at the individual level. Republican voters had higher excess death rates than Democratic voters, as noted in a large mortality gap in the period after, but not before, all adults were eligible for vaccines in Florida and Ohio. With adjustments for differences in age and state of residence between Republican and Democratic voters, our findings suggest that, among individuals in the same age groups living in the same states, there were significant differences in excess death rates during the COVID-19 pandemic associated with political party affiliation. The results were robust to alterations in the methods used to estimate excess mortality as well as the statistical model used to estimate the difference in excess death rates between Republican and Democratic voters.
…In addition to vaccines, nonpharmaceutical interventions, including facial masks and restrictions on large gatherings, have been reported to contribute to reductions in transmission of COVID-19 or its severe outcomes, including death, in experimental, quasi-experimental, and modeling studies. However, differences in support for these measures by political party affiliation emerged early in the pandemic, and the gradual loosening of the strictest government policies regarding the use of facial masks and restrictions on large gatherings predated April 2021, when vaccines became available to all adults in the study states. The extent of public adherence to these and other interventions at various stages of the pandemic, associations between individual political party affiliation and the adoption over time of these interventions in specific geographic areas, and their relative contribution to trends in individual and community COVID-19 mortality over time are also worthwhile areas for further investigation.
Since the fall of 2022, the focus of the US COVID-19 vaccination program has turned to the administration of updated, bivalent booster doses to those who have already received a primary vaccine series and, in many cases, 1 or more prior booster dose. Federal health officials have also begun considering future strategies for COVID-19 vaccination, including annual revaccination campaigns using vaccines reformulated to match circulating variants. Yet more than 2 years into the vaccination effort, more than 50 million adults in the US have not completed a primary series, and these individuals remain at a substantially increased risk of hospitalization and death. The causes of this vaccine hesitancy and refusal are varied and extend beyond political beliefs or party affiliation alone. It therefore remains imperative for public health officials to continue and enhance activities intended to improve initial vaccination coverage, in tandem with current or future booster campaigns. To be most effective, these efforts— and corresponding messages— should be tailored to their intended audiences, address the particular sources of vaccine hesitancy among those groups, and seek to include direct participation from members of those communities as trusted ambassadors of provaccine messages. As part of this work, engagement with conservative and Republican leaders, in particular, has been identified as a promising approach to promoting COVID-19 vaccine acceptance.