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COVID is killing Republican base -- Mark VanLaeys

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As a physician's assistant, I've lost many patients over 35 years. Not once did I ask or care about party affiliation. Each patient left behind loved ones -- from young children to spouses to grandparents. None of that has changed.

But this January we're losing a couple thousand Americans per day to COVID -- and they're disproportionately Republicans. The unvaccinated are more likely to get COVID illness. And when they do get it, they're way more likely to die from it. A study released Nov. 8 by Texas Health and Human Services revealed "unvaccinated people were 40 times more likely to experience COVID-19-associated death than fully vaccinated people." 

According to a Gallup survey released Sept. 29, 92% of Democrats were at least partially vaccinated compared to 56% of Republicans. Translation -- the pandemic is taking the lives of Republicans at a disproportionately higher rate than Democrats.

Consider the implications for upcoming elections. If former President Donald Trump had received about 75,000 more votes across Wisconsin, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada, he would still be our president. The Republican Party needs more voters, not fewer.

The party of Lincoln can't survive or thrive in national elections if it continues to kill off its own base.

Mark VanLaeys, Delavan

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