As the U.S. works to get the COVID-19 pandemic under control, 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 more that state is able to eliminate restrictions on businesses. We’ll only be able to fully get back to life as normal once most of the population is vaccinated against coronavirus, and it will still be months before we can achieve that. The U.S. is off to a slow start so far, as only 7.9% of the population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (received both doses) as of March 2.
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|
|48||District of Columbia||42.06|
Note: *No. 1 = Safest
Rankings are based on data available as of 12:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 3, 2021.
COVID-19 Death Rate Ranking vs. Vaccination Rate Ranking
Note: Rank 1 on the “COVID-19 Death Rate Ranking” means fewest deaths and Rank 1 for “Vaccination Rate Ranking” means the highest share of population age 16 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 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 16 and older initiating vaccination. It is calculated as follows: Total Number of People Initiating Vaccination / Population age 16 and older.
- Positive Testing Rate: Full Weight (~12.50 Points)
Note: This metric refers to the positive COVID-19 testing rate in the state between February 24, 2021 and March 2, 2021.
- Hospitalization Rate: Full Weight (~12.50 Points)
Note: This metric refers to the COVID-19 hospitalization rate in the state between February 24, 2021 and March 2, 2021.
- Death Rate: Triple Weight (~37.50 Points)
Note: This metric refers to the COVID-19 death rate in the state between February 24, 2021 and March 2, 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, The COVID Tracking Project and epiforecasts.io.