Animated bar chart shows which states took Covid seriously, and which didn't

Normalization is pretty, if you’ll excuse me, normal. Most charts you see for covid will have something like 1 week rolling average applied to give you a better idea of the trend. Also data guys like to stay away from terms like “Probably they politics did not change for the first half of the year.” He could have made them all purple till he had data but that would not be true either. If you think about it though, don’t you think if he went back further the trend he was pointing out would only have been more obvious? I mean the denser areas, which tend democratic, got hit first so they would have been even more sharply represented there at the beginning.

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That’s what I was thinking: right next to the state’s name they should put estimated population. The fact that NoDak is 7th with a population of about 150 people would hammer home the failings of the “it’s a hoax!” approach.

Edit: just read through other comments on the numbers used. I stand corrected, though I still think it would be interesting to see the total population.

The source “Dan’s COVID Charts” All 50 are included


Eleven of the top eleven in this chart are southern states. So there could be another factor at play. And I agree with @xian that something seems to be missing.


You’re looking at the most humid states throughout the summer also being in the top 4. Other than Alaska, the most humid states (RH) are 1) Florida, 2) Louisiana and 3) Mississippi - that’s annual. I can’t find an RH chart covering only the summer months as this bar chart does. But, I have traveled through all of the states in the Southern US twice in summer months and don’t remember getting a break from it in Alabama though that may have been so. Texas could be a great one to study the numbers because some cities are much more humid than others.

Cases per million ppl are charted.

Those Parkland kids who got shot at seems like a new wave shifting left. The old red guard I think are the rabid anti-Castro exiles. Retired Jewish grandparents probably lean left. But there’s some entrenched political parties and it seems obvious as a battleground state, and a place where people still hold regular klan meetings and rallies and it isn’t a small following, that there’s been both manipulation and intimidation in the voting process.

Thanks! That includes an option to look at the states with the “fewest cases” since June and IMHO you really can’t conclude looking at that data that there is any political correlation within that stack, although perhaps noteworthy that there is a lot more blue landing on the fewest cases list. It also kinda goes back to some recent comments in the bbs about what “slightly democratic” now means. It could be essentially aligning with the politics of Ronald Reagan.


Looking at similar such comments on the Twitter feed, the argument made there is that in the early days we didn’t know so well what we were up against, but by June governors should have damn well known. Sounds legit (though I think that people should have known by March).


Put bluntly, June 1 is the line between bad luck and bad policy. That line marks when we knew enough to fight this virus, if we had the money and the drive to set the priorities. After June 1, every other wealthy country fighting this had daily death rates that were trending towards zero. The US did not.

From January to March, the whole world was still learning about this virus, and outcomes were strongly related to luck [1]. April and May are where the policies chosen began to take effect. After June, governments pretty much got what they paid for.

In the attached, we can see that on a per-capita basis the peak US death rates were about half as bad as the UK or Italy. But where those countries tapered-off towards zero, the US just kept a slow burn running. I believe that most of the new deaths after June 1 were a policy choice, not bad luck.

[1] Countries that still had institutional memory of SARS and MERS were less reliant on luck - they already had some good habits in place.


They probably would have if the Trump administration hadn’t sat on the data and ignored it.


After people knew, there was a lag while habits changed (slowly) and refined, and as already-existing infections ran their course.

The distribution (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc) isn’t as interesting as the count.
Out of the 25 least-infected states, 5 are red. Ascii-graphically:

Least infected states:
Red:      *****
Not Red:  ********************

If each entry in the 25-least-infected had a 50/50 chance of being red or blue, then results like these would have about a half-percent chance of appearing.


Democratic. The adjective is Democratic, the noun is Democrat.

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I think @nosaj makes a good point about June 1 being the luck/policy line. I also think others make good points about cherry picking though.

If the premise is that “red people aren’t following the science” that glosses over that states are a pretty terrible way to divide people politically. If you look at the country by county (a much more reasonable resolution) the country is something like 80% blue. This idea all the people in the middle are red and all the people on the sides are blue is a bad oversimplification, IMHO.

I also wonder how much of this effect is just that the red states are more rural and less well connected by air travel, so the disease is only now hitting there hard? This disease has basically moved inland from the coasts as you would expect it to do.

I don’t doubt that bad policy and people not wearing masks is a dominant variable, but I also think this chart is trying to make a “red people are stupid” argument, which I don’t think is helpful. Californians were not good at wearing masks or distancing for most of April through August because people didn’t take it serious enough until their neighbours started dying. Arizona and Florida are maybe entering their mask resistance phase now?


It’s not just a matter of individual behavior. A lot of the policies that were put in place (or not) to combat the pandemic, such as “should we close the bars?” or “are we ready to send everyone back to school?” or “do we support mask mandate?” are enacted or at least strongly influenced at the state level.

So if you live in a state that has a Trump-aligned governor and other elected officials who constantly undermine the science of the pandemic and refused to promote best practices then you’re going to be at elevated risk for infection regardless of your personal choices.

The takeaway here shouldn’t be “if you live in a red state then you’re probably stupid.” The takeaway should be “Republican policies are killing people.”


For sure. To be clear, I agree 100% with this statement. I just question whether the animation in the OP is really saying that in an intellectually honest way. It’s a compelling animation, but it feels a little “cherry picked infographic to make a point” to me. I’m splitting hairs, I suppose, but I’m always suspicious of compelling animations that confirm things I want to believe. :grinning:


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