In a pandemic, political polarization could kill people

Recently, Michael Tesler, an associate professor of political science at the University of California [Irvine], suggested that reality might finally be “burst[ing] through the partisan bubble.” In an analysis of Google search trends, he found that, from Feb. 15 through March 15, people living in politically “red” states were significantly less likely to have searched for “coronavirus” over the previous month than residents of blue states. But over the last few days of the period examined — March 11 to 15 — there had been a noticeable change in behavior: People in Republican states were searching for the virus nearly as much as their Democratic counterparts. Unfortunately, this finding may not be as reassuring as it first appears.