As the U.S. continues its efforts to fully overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and new variants, staying safe remains an important concern for Americans. Safety is also essential for getting the economy fully 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 the country has dropped almost all restrictions and the number of new COVID-19 cases per month is down significantly since the beginning of the year, increasing the percentage of people who have been vaccinated and received booster doses is still key to getting back to life as normal. The good news is that around 68% of the population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of October 6.
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 level of COVID-19 community transmission, the rates of 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|
|6||District of Columbia||73.36|
Note: *No. 1 = Safest
**As of February 17, 2022, Iowa is no longer reporting negative test results; therefore, test volume and test positivity from this date forward are no longer presented.
***Due to reporting delays, test positivity in California may be incomplete for the last week.
Rankings are based on data available as of 12:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, October 12, 2022.
- T-1. Connecticut
- T-1. District of Columbia
- T-1. Massachusetts
- T-1. New York
- T-1. Pennsylvania
- T-46. Idaho
- T-46. Tennessee
- 48. Indiana
- 49. Louisiana
- 50. Mississippi
- 51. Wyoming
- 1. Illinois
- 2. Alabama
- T-3. District of Columbia
- T-3. Lousiana
- 5. Colorado
- 44. Nebraska
- 45. Pennsylvania
- 46. Utah
- 47. Michigan
- T-48. South Dakota
- T-48. Missouri
- 1. Mississippi
- 2. Arizona
- 3. Nevada
- 4. New Mexico
- 5. Colorado
- 47. West Virginia
- 48. Massachusetts
- 49. Delaware
- 50. Connecticut
- 51. District of Columbia
- T-1. Alaska
- T-1. North Carolina
- T-1 District of Columbia
- 4. Alabama
- 5. Florida
- 47. Kentucky
- T-48. Oklahoma
- T-48. Maine
- T-48. Montana
- T-48. Arkansas
- 1. Nebraska
- 2. Hawaii
- 3. Nevada
- 4. Alaska
- 5.New Mexico
- T-24. Maine
- T-24. New York
- T-24. New Hampshire
- T-24. Rhode Island
- T-24. District of Columbia
*Estimates the share of counties in each state with a low level of community transmission.
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 5, 2022 and October 11, 2022 and Rank 1 for “Vaccination Rate Ranking” means the highest share of population age 12 and older initiating COVID-19 vaccination.
Red vs. Blue States
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) “Level of Community Transmission.”
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 6, 2022.
- Positive Testing Rate: Full Weight (~12.50 Points)
Note: This metric refers to the positive COVID-19 testing rate in the state between September 27, 2022 and October 3, 2022.
- Hospitalization Rate: Full Weight (~12.50 Points)
Note: This metric refers to the COVID-19 hospitalization rate in the state between September 28, 2022 and October 4, 2022.
- Death Rate: Triple Weight (~37.50 Points)
Note: This metric refers to the COVID-19 death rate in the state between October 5, 2022 and October 11, 2022.
- Level of Community Transmission: Full Weight (~12.50 Points)
Note: This metric measures the share of counties in each state with a low level of community transmission.
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 and COVID-19 Electronic Laboratory Reporting.