As the U.S. continues its efforts to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic amid a surge in cases caused by variant strains, staying safe is one of Americans’ top concerns. Safety is also essential for getting the economy back on track, as the lower COVID-19 transmission and deaths are in a state, the fewer restrictions there will be and the more confidence people will have to shop in person. While almost all states have fully reopened, we’ll only be able to completely get back to life as normal once most of the population is fully vaccinated against coronavirus. The good news is that the U.S. is picking up speed with vaccination, as around 57% of the population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of October 12.
Some states are already safer than others, though, based on how well they have kept the pandemic under control and how much they are vaccinating. In order to find out the safest states during the COVID-19 pandemic, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across five key metrics. Our data set includes the rates of COVID-19 transmission, positive testing, hospitalizations and death, as well as the share of the eligible population getting vaccinated.
Safest States During COVID
|Overall Rank*||State||Total Score|
|5||District of Columbia||86.64|
Note: *No. 1 = Safest
**Idaho provides vaccine data only for vaccine recipients who are 18 years and older, in line with state laws. COVID-19 vaccination administration data is unavailable for the Vaccinations in the US and Vaccinations by County pages for the population aged less than 18 years. Since no individuals under 18 from Idaho are included in the vaccination totals, CDC is working to subtract Census figures for the Idaho population under the age of 18 from the total US and ID population denominators and from the US and ID populations denominators for people aged 12 years and older.
***COVID data from Louisiana and Mississippi is expected to be less complete due to Hurricane Ida. Some facilities in these areas may still report information; however, reporting will be greatly impacted.
Rankings are based on data available as of 12:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, October 13, 2021.
COVID-19 Death Rate Ranking vs. Vaccination Rate Ranking
Note: Rank 1 on the “COVID-19 Death Rate Ranking” means fewest deaths in the state between October 6, 2021 and October 12, 2021 and Rank 1 for “Vaccination Rate Ranking” means the highest share of population age 12 and older initiating COVID-19 vaccination.
Ask the Experts
It’s important for both ordinary people and government officials to work together to make sure their communities are safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. For further guidance, WalletHub turned to a panel of experts. Click on the pictures of the experts below to view their bios and responses to the following key questions:
- What measures can people take to ensure the safety in their communities and contribute to the overall path to recovery in their state?
- What role does the media play in educating the public when it comes to vaccination hesitancy?
- How can the federal government help states increase vaccination rates?
- Is the introduction of a ‘No jab, No school’ policy that requires mandatory vaccination at school entry necessary in the U.S.?
Ask the Experts
In order to identify the safest states during the COVID-19 pandemic, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across five key metrics: 1) “Vaccination Rate,” 2) “Positive Testing Rate,” 3) “Hospitalization Rate,” 4) “Death Rate,” and 5) “Transmission Rate.”
These metrics are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the safest conditions.
We then determined the weighted average across all metrics to calculate an overall score for each state and used the resulting scores to rank-order the states.
- Vaccination Rate: Double Weight (~25.00 Points)
Note: This metric refers to the share of the population age 12 and older initiating vaccination as of October 12, 2021.
- Positive Testing Rate: Full Weight (~12.50 Points)
Note: This metric refers to the positive COVID-19 testing rate in the state between September 29, 2021 and October 5, 2021.
- Hospitalization Rate: Full Weight (~12.50 Points)
Note: This metric refers to the COVID-19 hospitalization rate in the state between September 30, 2021 and October 6, 2021.
- Death Rate: Triple Weight (~37.50 Points)
Note: This metric refers to the COVID-19 death rate in the state between October 6, 2021 and October 12, 2021.
- Estimated Transmission Rate: Full Weight (~12.50 Points)
Note: This metric refers to the current COVID-19 reproduction number, which is an estimate of the average number of people to whom an infected person will transmit the COVID-19 virus.
Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, COVID-19 Electronic Laboratory Reporting and epiforecasts.io.