Last month I shared some analysis of COVID-19 in the United States indicating that growth was increasing beyond the large population centers to more rural parts of the country. Since Trump support is stronger in rural America, this indicated that the virus was going to become more immediate to large parts of the country that supported Trump in the 2016 election.
In the last few weeks however it seems that there has been a reversion to equal growth in rural and urban areas indicating that rural communities have woken up to the danger and are taking serious precautions. However, the growth in states that voted for Trump is still higher than the rest of the country.
Here is a chart based on the 7-day rolling growth rates by state. The green lines show the correlation to growth with how rural a state is (green lines). The orange lines show the correlation to growth with how heavily the state voted for Trump in the 2016 election.
The dotted lines show the trends over time. As can be seen, the correlations were mostly in lockstep through May, however in the last few weeks the trends are diverging. As rural communities react, it is more urban areas in Trump supporting states that are seeing the most growth.
This can be seen more clearly if we focus on the last 4 weeks of data:
The implications at this point should be keeping anybody in the Trump campaign, who is alert to these trends, awake at night. The low turnout for Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma was likely partially caused by legitimate concerns about attending an indoor event in the current environment. The campaign believes that these rallies are very effective, and right now the polling is not looking good for Trump, so I expect that there will be a lot of pressure to hold more rallies, probably in outdoor arenas. The pictures from the 3,000-person student event in Arizona on Tuesday, 23rd June show almost nobody wearing face protection, and amazingly disease prevention seems to be a political football now in the United States.
The United States came out of lockdown before the first wave was squashed.
Stay safe and keep others safe. Wear face protection in public places.
(Raw data for the above charts available on request).