When it comes to the pandemic, where you live matters a whole hell of a lot:
The 12 states with the highest case rate for every 100,000 people are all run by Republican governors.
The 13 states with the highest hospitalization rate per 100,000 residents are all run by Republican governors.
The 15 states with the highest percentage of deaths per 100,000 are all run by Republican governors.
The tragedy is that where you live today – red state, blue state, or something in between – is not a political or public health choice but often determined simply by where you were born and raised.
More than 30% of Americans have lived in or near their hometown for at least 10 years. Another 18% have lived in or near their hometown for 11 to 20 years. And over 20% have lived in or near their hometown for 21 to 30 years.
Overall, 72% of Americans currently live in or close to the town or city where they grew up. The average American lives just 18 miles from where their mother currently resides.
Even though Americans can choose to live anywhere within the confines of our country, most remain close to home. And that home – determined simply by where they were born – often defines so much about them:
Politics. Religion. The way they spend their leisure time. Their allegiances to sports teams. The effectiveness of public schooling. Access to quality medical care. Gun laws. Public opinion and the treatment of human beings who are different from what is perceived as the majority.
And in the midst of a pandemic, where you live also determines the likelihood of you getting sick, hospitalized, and dying of COVID-19.
If you live in one of these states where vaccination rates are low, infection, hospitalization, and death rates are high, it’s likely not by choice but simple inertia. Wanting to live close to family and friends, you suddenly find yourself in a state where mask and vaccine mandates are illegal, hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, medical systems are approaching the breaking point, and governors talk about personal freedom while their constituents die in greater and greater numbers.
When asked about the hospitals in his state being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients, West Virginia and Republican governor Jim Justice said that hospitals are being overwhelmed “all over this country.”
Not where I live, Jim.
Sadly, Jim Justice is one of the few Republican governors who is aggressively pushing for his constituents to get vaccinated. He may be unwilling to acknowledge the problems in his state on national television, but he has been urging vaccination from day one, and for a long time, West Virginia led the country in vaccination rates.
Eventually, Justice and West Virginia public health officials ran into that pesky 20-30% of Americans who refuse to get vaccinated because conspiracy theories and allegiance to a political movement are more important to them than public health, science, patriotism, the collective good, and basic human decency.
I live in Connecticut, about two hours west and one state over from where I was born and raised. Thanks to my birthplace and my desire to remain in New England, my state and the states surrounding my state have some of the lowest infection and death rates in the country, as well as the highest vaccination rates.
When it comes to real estate, “Location, Location, Location” has never meant more than in the midst of a pandemic.