May 15, 2020

Trump Texas Country Becomes Virus Graveyard
as Red Havens Have Highest Death Rates in State

By Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside Editor

Texas COVID-19 Deaths
  County Rates Per 100,000 Population
 Minimum 2 Deaths - Trump 2016 Vote
Population Less Than 100,000
    Deaths Trump
1 Panola 64.5 81%
2 Washington 62.8 74%
3 Moore 50.7 76%
4 Hansford 36.5 89%
5 Hartley 35.1 89%
6 Harrison 28.5 71%
7 Walker 26.3 65%
8 Shelby 20.0 79%
9 Ochiltree 19.9 88%
10 Potter 19.1 69%
Texas COVID-19 Deaths
  County Rates Per 100,000 Population
  Donald Trump Share of 2016 Vote
Population More Than 100,000
    Deaths Trump
1 Potter 19.1 69%
2 Lubbock 16.4 66%
3 Jefferson 10.1 49%
4 Galveston 9.0 60%
5 Brazos 8.1 58%
6 Midland 7.3 75%
7 Ellis 6.3 71%
8 Webb 6.2 23%
9 Cameron 6.1 32%
10 Dallas 6.1 35%




The coronavirus has been killing more people on average in some of the most sparsely populated rural areas in Texas where President Donald Trump won overwhelmingly in 2016.

Most of the major Texas cities that have had the highest average body counts during the COVID-19 rampage also have been red strongholds that Trump carried by significant margins at the polls two years ago.

The carnage in the countryside makes it clear that rural Texas got the wrong message from GOP leaders and lawmakers who assured the folks in small towns that there was no need to follow the big cities' lead on lockdowns and other restrictions because the virus posed no real threat to them.

But the president and the Republicans won't be losing any sleep over the fact that their forecast for the virus in the Lone Star State has proven to be a costly failure in the state's vast expanses where voters will probably still be backing Trump for re-election in November when he'll be squaring off with Democrat Joe Biden.

Trump won by almost 86 percent on average in four rural counties in the Texas Panhandle that are ranked among the top 10 in the state in the number of deaths from coronavirus infections since the outbreak here more than two months ago.

Potter County that contains about half of the Amarillo area is the only major population center in the state that ranks among the 10 Texas counties with the highest coronavirus fatality rates in places where the virus has taken at least two lives. Trump crushed Democratic foe Hillary Clinton in Potter County with 69 percent of the vote in the last presidential election cycle.

Lubbock County - the heart of the South Plains at the Panhandle's southern base - has a rate that's second only to Potter in the terms of the per capita death toll in Texas counties where more than 100,000 people live. The claimed 56 more lives across the state in the 24-hour period that ended at mid-afternoon on Friday.

The Texas fatality tally today fell two short of the record that had been set on Thursday. After raising the bar two days in a row on the number of confirmed coronavirus infections in a single day, the Department of State Health Services streak the case count dipped to 1347 on Friday, the fourth highest number since the disease surfaced here in early March.

Trump beat Clinton with 81 percent of the vote clear across the state in Panola County where the virus fatality count almost doubled on Friday when officials there announced that seven more people had died from COVID-19 infections.

With a significant share of the cases attributed to an outbreak at a nearby chicken processing plant, the alarming spike vaulted Panola to the number one spot on the list of Texas counties that have lost the most lives on average when those where only one death has been reported are removed from the equation. Panola County had been fifth in that regard on Thursday.

Tucked away deep on the Louisiana line in the heart of the Piney Woods, Panola is one of five East Texas counties that have had the 10 highest death rates amid the virus surge. Washington County between the Houston and Austin areas paved the way for Panola's jump to the crowning spot on the coronavirus death rate leader board when no one died today in the jurisdiction that has Brenham as its largest city.

The coronavirus has been more of a lethal force in Washington County that the people there could have imagined with 22 deaths with a nursing home as the apparent origin of the outbreak there. Washington is a rock-solid red county where Trump captured 74 percent of the 2016 vote.

Trump garnered 76 percent in Moore County that's had the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases per capita by a massive margin with a huge meat packing plant as the source of the spread there.

Trump carried the seven major counties with the highest virus death rates with huge winning margins in all but one of them. Jefferson County - the state's third highest ranked county in per capita coronavirus fatalities - handed Trump a razor-thin victory in 2016 when he defeated Clinton there by a half percentage point with slightly less than 49 percent.

Galveston, Brazos, Midland and Ellis counties are the only jurisdictions in Texas with six-figure populations that haven't had COVID-19 death rates as high as Potter and Lubbock.


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