In a new story from NPR, researchers have discovered that U.S. counties who voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election have increasingly high death rates from COVID-19. According to poll data, Republicans are the largest group of unvaccinated people in the country.

From the story: “The analysis only looked at the geographic location of COVID-19 deaths. The exact political views of each person taken by the disease remains unknowable. But the strength of the association, combined with polling information about vaccination, strongly suggests that Republicans are being disproportionately affected. Recent polling data that show Republicans are now the largest group of unvaccinated individuals in the United States, more than any other single demographic group. Polling also shows that mistrust in official sources of information and exposure to misinformation, about both COVID-19 and the vaccines, run high among Republicans.

“An unvaccinated person is three times as likely to lean Republican as they are to lean Democrat,” says Liz Hamel, vice president of public opinion and survey research at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health policy think tank that tracks attitudes toward vaccination. Political affiliation is now the strongest indicator of whether someone is vaccinated, she says: “If I wanted to guess if somebody was vaccinated or not and I could only know one thing about them, I would probably ask what their party affiliation is.”

According to NPR misinformation has played a large part in Republican mortality rates, with over 90% of those surveyed saying they believe multiple false statements about coronavirus. With the winter 2021 surge imminent and the new omicron variant identified, the next few months may see another rise in COVID deaths.

To read the rest of the story from NPR, click here.