Research shows Republican-led states re-opened earlier during the pandemic

A study published in Perspectives on Politics found that out of all the 50 states, Republican-led states were among the ones that lifted the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions earlier.

The study investigated implementations put forth by public health and government officials during the initial surge of coronavirus between March and April of 2020.

“We explore the US states’ evolving policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic by examining governors’ decisions to begin easing five types of social distancing policies after the initial case surge in March–April 2020,” according to a Cambridge report.

“Applying event history models to original data on state COVID-19 policies, we test the relative influence of health, economic, and political considerations on their decisions,” the report also states.

Researchers unveiled that politics played a strong role in influencing the measures implemented to protect against the COVID-19 pandemic, with Republican governors more likely to have eased measures implemented in an effort to increase the rights and freedom of the public, as opposed to Democratic governors heeding the recommendations from top public health officials.

“Republican governors made the policy U-turn from imposing social distancing measures toward easing those measures a week earlier than Democratic governors, all else equal,” the study’s authors wrote in their findings.

“Most troubling of all, we find that states with larger Black populations eased their social distancing policies more quickly, despite Black Americans’ higher exposure to infection from SARS-CoV-2 and subsequent death from COVID-19.”

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