The governor of New York has declared a state of emergency over polio as evidence emerges that the virus is spreading across the state.
Thomas Pepinsky, professor of government, is an expert on the interaction between domestic politics and the global economy. His research has found that partisan identity predicts attitudes toward deadly viruses (social distancing, washing hands) more accurately than education, income or any other factor. He says sadly, deadly viruses like polio do not care about partisanship, and all New Yorkers may suffer as a result.
"Recent reports of the reemergence of polio in New York State reveal the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic has politicized public health in the United States—with potentially deadly consequences. The polio vaccine is safe, effective, and has been used around the world for decades, saving millions of lives and preventing millions more from suffering from the disease. Yet as my coauthors and I argue in Pandemic Politics: The Deadly Toll of Partisanship in the Age of COVID (Princeton University Press, 2022), the COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally reshaped how Americans view vaccination and other kinds of public health initiatives. What was once viewed as a public good is now a partisan football. Sadly, deadly viruses like polio do not care about partisanship, and all New Yorkers may suffer as a result."