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COVID Rates in “Red” and “Blue” States in the US


The coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in the United States has been a health and economic debacle. The outbreak has disrupted people’s life, overwhelmed health systems, and resulted in a global economic downturn. To put these statistics in context, the virus has claimed more than three times the American lives lost in the War in Vietnam (Bauer). The scale of the economic devastation is unprecedented: the epidemic has wreaked havoc on markets, wreaked havoc on supplies, and wreaked havoc on liquidity. In areas such as health, the virus’s spread has maintained a unique geographic trajectory, first in densely populated urban regions and then spreading to more rural parts throughout the country.

While the March 2020 voluntary social isolation and confinement initially helped segregate and minimize infections, they also created severe economic misery. The market shock produced by containment, redundancies, and a corporate shutdown struck services to consumers severely. The pandemic took a distinct turn concerning the acceptance or refuting of the imposed containment measures in the red and blue states within the US; the blue state in consideration is California, while the red state is Florida.

Part A Analysis: Red State

According to Becker’s Hospital Review, Florida is ranked second regarding the deaths caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with an average daily mortality of 105 (“States Ranked by COVID-19 Death Rates”). The pandemic’s onset has brought countless deaths and losses in countless families across the state, nation, and globe. With the advancement of the pandemic, several measures were necessitated from the federal front, which included quarantine moves, social distancing, mandatory mask mandates, vaccinations, and mandatory testing for the virus. In the wake of these events, Florida, being a “Red State,” had differing opinions on some of the federal mandates (Kates et al.). The Republican governor and legislators were opposed to some of the impositions they felt were infringing on personal rights and liberties.

At Gov. Ron DeSantis’ urging, Florida legislators enacted new legislation severely restricting mask and vaccination regulations. Anti-vaccination sentiments on the fringes received little response. The developing approach has thrown conventional politics in Florida on its head, causing a rift between Republican state legislators and big business, one of their most potent constituents, while allowing a tiny group of Democratic legislators to support local government moves to combat the virus. Republicans approved numerous legislations to limit mask and inoculation requirements almost exclusively along party lines. The drive against vaccination mandates has emboldened organizations whose anti-vaccine ideas have received no resistance from Republican lawmakers. Critics have claimed that the governor’s struggle against requirements resulted in unnecessary deaths. Mr. DeSantis battled local school systems and governments that demanded masks or vaccinations, withholding funding, penalizing them, or taking them to court as the number of instances increased. Many legislators were concerned that corporations sought to maintain their authority to enforce requirements; many of the state’s largest employers, like Disney, already do. Furthermore, company owners have been hesitant to deal with laws that contradict each other at the state and federal levels.

Authorities made it illegal for public school districts and municipal governments to impose vaccination requirements, and they granted parents complete control over whether or not their children should be vaccinated or wear masks. The DeSantis administration fined Leon County $3.5 million for requiring immunizations for its workers (ANTHONY IZAGUIRRE and MIKE SCHNEIDER Associated Press). They enabled private enterprises to have vaccination requirements as long as they offered medical and religious caveats that were anticipated to be far more comprehensive than the government exceptions. Employees might opt-out if they agree to be tested regularly or wear protective gear like masks. Employers would be responsible for either paying for the testing or providing the masks. Employers were forbidden from imposing rigorous vaccination requirements under the new Florida rules, which allowed workers to pick exemptions due to health or religious considerations, pregnancy or planned pregnancy, and have had the disease and rebounded from it. Unvaccinated employees might alternatively be subjected to periodic testing or required to wear protective gear at the expense of their employers.

Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida has filed a lawsuit against the federal government, claiming that a regulation requiring federal contractors to produce confirmation of Covid-19 inoculation or subject to weekly testing is a “heavy-handed imposition” (Chasmar). “Individuals should make educated decisions about their own healthcare,” he said (Chasmar). The Biden administration mandated vaccinations for large-company employees and government employees, but the move has been greeted by opposition throughout the country. Florida is one of the states that has sued the federal government over its requirements. Governor DeSantis has been in the vanguard of the political struggle to repeal mask and vaccine regulations, claiming that doing so counteracts federal government intrusion. His stance has remained the same: no one should lose their job due to the Covid regulations. He also said that the legislature and the people of Florida must defend the people’s jobs.

The political war over masks in classrooms in Florida heated up when the state Board of Education decided to fine local schools for failing to obey Gov. Ron DeSantis’s administration’s directives to make masks voluntary. In Florida and other places where Republican governors reject mask regulations as an imposition on human freedoms, masks in schools have been the focus of a very politicized discussion. In this context, Democratic Vice President Joe Biden has publicly chastised Republican governors for opposing local mask regulations.

Regardless of immunization status, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all students, instructors, and personnel wear masks. The inhaled aerosols that contain the coronavirus in an infected individual are dispersed by most masks, providing significantly greater protection to bystanders than to the individual wearing them. As a result, individual masking impairs the masks’ safety.

Part B Analysis: Blue State

The depiction of COVID-19 in California takes a similar tangent as Florida’s concerning the mortality rates. However, the death rates in California are exceptionally higher than any other state in the nation. Statistics for KFF elicit that the total number of deaths in California from the pandemic stands at 84,728 (“Cumulative COVID-19 Cases and Deaths”). Regarding the Covid mandates, there are apparently some disparities between California and Florida. The federally approved measures to combat the virus were well received from the very onset in California and were further reified in line with the state’s conservative predilections. Even with easing rates of the virus, there was the overt inclination to maintain the existing measures for some time (Hubler).

The red/blue debate regarding Covid mandates continues to stir jumbled emotions and perspectives in Republican and Democrat states (Kates et al.). California, which is essentially a Democrat state, embraces more conservative views about COVID-19 mandates. California’s governor announced the nation’s first statewide Covid-19 vaccination requirement for kids, stating that inoculation against the coronavirus will be mandatory in a few months for students to attend public and private schools across the state (Al Jazeera). According to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decree, the coronavirus vaccination joins other inoculations, such as those for mumps and measles, that are compulsory for almost seven million pupils to enroll in K-12 schools in person. The edict is one of the most significant to come out of a coronavirus epidemic that has wreaked havoc on schooling and the economy. California had an adamant stance on pandemic health measures, which resulted in school closures lasting significantly longer than the rest of the nation. Furthermore, there are stringent requirements for Covid testing and the use of masks. Health officials in California posit that “Unvaccinated state employees are required to get tested at least once a week and to wear N95 masks at all times. Unvaccinated health care workers have to get tested at least twice a week” (Lah et al.).

Beginning in December 2020, California will make COVID-19 immunization a priority for inmates and workers. COVID-19 vaccination coverage rates among prison employees have been lower than those in the general public on a national level. To address the problem, the national govt and some states, notably California, have sought to enact mandates, which have resulted in employee resignations and litigation delaying implementation. Vaccine mandates have been established or advocated to mitigate the hazards presented by unvaccinated personnel to susceptible institutionalized groups such as prisons. Despite the fact that prison labor unions in these contexts typically support vaccination, mandates are opposed and have been battling on picket lines and in court. The executive branch and the court system in California have mandated vaccines for state prison workers (Thompson). Some of these restrictions were enacted in response to the fast spread of coronavirus illness 2019 in the United States, to slow population mobility and “flattening the curve.”

The fast spread of COVID-19 prompted California to establish a public health emergency two years ago, which is now in force until March 2022. The pandemic’s worst effects—death, disease, and economic turmoil disproportionately on low-income, Black, Latino, or employees in California. The epidemic not only exposed long-standing health inequities among specific communities but also underlined the need for health insurance and healthcare access for all individuals. The state of emergency in California might be lifted by the end of March (“As California Enters Next Phase of Pandemic Response”). Even as pandemic regulations fade away, pandemic-related initiatives are resurfacing, such as Healthy California for All Commission, which looks into how the state might offer affordable health care to all people. The commission’s impending report will help ensure that Californians have access to the clinical care they require.

Individuals of poor socioeconomic position and Black, Indigenous, and Latino people have been unduly impacted by the COVID-19 epidemic in the United States. These people have had a greater incidence of illnesses, hospitalizations, and fatalities. Uneven exposure to transmission hazards, which are concentrated in poor communities, may lead to disparities in COVID-19 results, which can be exacerbated by various economic and social variables both within and outside the home. Doing outside the home as a vital worker, working hourly paying jobs, living in big, intergenerational homes, and having restricted access to adequate housing and universal healthcare are exacerbating variables.

From the very onset, the pandemic brought numerous legislation that sought to improve the quality of life by minimizing infection and reinfection rates. California took a more proactive stance in combating the spread of COVID-19. As highlighted from the various sources, the state’s incumbent governor ensured that various laws and policies were effected to protect the general public. One of the blatant depictions noted is that despite efforts to raise concerns of the laws and policies prying on individual liberties, the state and judiciary won in the quest of establishing compulsory measures for all individuals.


The outbreak took a different route in terms of acceptance or rejection of mandated countermeasures in the red and blue states within the United States. Despite there being an apparent threat to the safety and well-being of individuals, there was a distinct disparity in how the covid cases were handled and the containment measures received. Predominantly, there was a general proclivity first to consider whether the policies and measures invoked limited other freedoms in the red state in consideration, Florida. The explicit implication of this move resulted in several protests against measures on compulsory mask-wearing and other measures such as mandatory covid tests for employees in given workplaces. Florida’s republican regime fostered this liberal approach.

On the other hand, California exhibited a completely different approach to the Covid regulations in both their enforcement and their agreeing with federal moves on curtailing the spread of the virus. Despite the active stance taken by California, there are unparalleled deaths concerning the pandemic compared to other states in the country. Moreover, the mortality rates seemed to be disproportionate, impacting the Latinos more than any other population in the region. This imbalance may be a factor of socioeconomic disparities, with the issue of lacking medical insurance and coverage further aggravating the issue.

Works Cited


Chasmar, Jessica. “DeSantis Announces Florida Lawsuit against Biden Vaccine Mandate.” Fox News, 4 Nov. 2021,


ANTHONY IZAGUIRRE and MIKE SCHNEIDER Associated Press. “Florida Fines Key County $3.5 Million for Mandating Vaccines.” ABC News, 12 Oct. 2021,

Lah, Kyung, et al. “California to Mandate Vaccines and/or Testing for Teachers.” CNN, 11 Aug. 2021,

Hubler, Shawn. “Covid News: California Leaves School Mask Mandate in Place.” The New York Times, 28 Feb. 2022,


Al Jazeera. “California First US State to Order Teachers Get COVID Jabs, Tests.” Coronavirus Pandemic News | Al Jazeera, 12 Aug. 2021,


“As California Enters Next Phase of Pandemic Response, Governor Newsom Continues to Wind Down Executive Orders While Maintaining State’s Preparedness and Flexibility.” California Governor, 25 Feb. 2022,


Bauer, Lauren, et al. “Ten Facts about COVID-19 and the US Economy.” Brookings: Washington, DC (2020).

“Cumulative COVID-19 Cases and Deaths.” KFF, 22 July 2021,

Kates, Jennifer, et al. “The Red/Blue Divide in COVID-19 Vaccination Rates.” KFF, 14 Sept. 2021,


“States Ranked by COVID-19 Death Rates.” Becker’s Hospital Review, Accessed 20 Mar. 2022.


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