Sarah Palin’s anti-vaxxer extremism is ‘literally getting people killed’: journalist

Sarah Palin’s anti-vaxxer extremism is ‘literally getting people killed’: journalist
Frontpage news and politics

When former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin spoke at a far-right Turning Point USA event in Phoenix, Arizona over the weekend, she loudly reiterated her anti-vaxxer views — telling the crowd, “It’ll be over my dead body that I’ll have to get a shot.” Washington Post opinion writer Dana Milbank calls out the 2008 GOP vice-presidential nominee in a December 20 column, stressing that Palin and like-minded anti-vaxxers are pushing bad ideas that can prove deadly for people who buy into them.

“By discouraging vaccination,” Milbank writes, “she and Tucker Carlson and the rest of the anti-science right are quite literally getting people killed. Studies show that those living in the most pro-Trump counties in the United States are dying from COVID-19 at a rate more than five times higher than in the most anti-Trump counties. Palin’s pronouncements should come with a surgeon-general-style caution: ‘WARNING: SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASES YOUR RISK OF DYING FROM COVID.’”

The COVID-19 pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, has killed more than 5.3 million people worldwide. That includes over 808,000 deaths in the United States.

Encouraging reckless, life-threatening behavior during a severe pandemic, Milbank warns, makes the Republican Party a “death cult.”

“The Fox News crowd bristles at the notion that the Trumpified Republican Party has taken on aspects of a cult, but it’s looking more and more like a death cult, as my friend Sidney Blumenthal puts it,” Milbank laments. “Nine hundred members of the Peoples Temple died at Jonestown. Thirty-nine died in the Heaven’s Gate mass suicide. But tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Republicans are dying unnecessarily from COVID-19 because they refuse to get vaccinated.”

Milbank makes his case by citing data from blogger Charles Gaba, noting that he has “has been tracking coronavirus death rates by county.”

“(Gaba) reported Monday that since June 30, there have been about 117 deaths per 100,000 people in the reddest 10% of the United States, as measured by counties’ vote share for Donald Trump in 2020 — nearly six times the death rate of about 21 per 100,000 in the bluest decile,” Milbank writes. “Likewise, the 100 million people who live in the most pro-Trump 30% of the United States had a death rate of about 98 per 100,000 since June 30 — more than triple the 30 per 100,000 among the people who live in the least pro-Trump 30%.... This month, Gaba projects there will be 5.62 deaths per 100,000 in the Trumpiest 10% for every 1 death per 100,000 in the least-Trumpy decile of America. Gaba’s data is consistent with other recent studies.”

The more pro-Trump a county, Milbank adds, the lower the vaccination rate is likely to be — and the more likely someone is to die unnecessarily.

“Back in September,” Milbank observes, “Palin had boasted on Fox News: ‘I am one of those White, common-sense conservatives. I believe in science, and I have not taken the shot.’ And now, she says she won’t take it — unless and until she’s a dead body. Thanks to Palin and other death-cult leaders, countless Republicans have become exactly that.”

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