Fact Check

Did Neil DeGrasse Tyson Tweet This About Unvaccinated Republicans?

The famous astrophysicist deleted the tweet, saying it was causing unintended "Twitter fights."

Published Sep 9, 2021

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted that unvaccinated Republicans are dying from COVID-19 at five times the rate of Democrats.

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Astrophysicist, director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York, "Startalk" podcast host and occasional Twitter "intergalactic troll" Neil deGrasse Tyson on Aug. 31, 2021, penned a tweet he later deleted because he said it was "causing too many unintended Twitter fights."

The deleted tweet compared the rate of COVID-19 deaths among "(unvaccinated) Republican voters" to Democrats.

"Right now in the USA, every ten days, more than 8,000 (unvaccinated) Republican voters are dying of COVID-19. That’s 5X the rate for Democrats," the tweet read. The post also contained a drawing of a book titled, "How to Die Like a Medieval Peasant In Spite of Modern Medicine."

Here is an image of the now-deleted tweet, which was archived by the Internet Archive (the same post is still on Tyson's Facebook page):

Tyson either didn't provide a source for that information, or if he did, it was lost when he deleted the tweet. There was no source provided in the corresponding Facebook post.

The Brookings Institute, citing Kaiser Family Foundation polling data, has reported that anti-vaccine, anti-mask, and anti-social-distancing campaigns taken up by right-leaning political figures and media have had an effect on a segment of Republican voters, to the extent that Republicans are among the groups most likely to state they will "definitely" not get vaccinated.


Alba, Davey. “Virus Misinformation Spikes as Delta Cases Surge.” The New York Times, 10 Aug. 2021. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/10/technology/covid-delta-misinformation-surge.html.

Kamarck, Elaine. “COVID-19 Is Crushing Red States. Why Isn’t Trump Turning His Rallies into Mass Vaccination Sites?” Brookings, 29 July 2021, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2021/07/29/covid-19-is-crushing-red-states-why-isnt-trump-turning-his-rallies-into-mass-vaccination-sites/.

"COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor Dashboard." Kaiser Family Foundation, 24 Aug. 2021, https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/dashboard/kff-covid-19-vaccine-monitor-dashboard/.

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who started her career as a daily newspaper reporter and has covered everything from crime to government to national politics. She has written for ... read more

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