Here Are the States with the Biggest Health Improvements During the Pandemic


As many states slowly make decisions to relax social distancing restrictions put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers looked at the latest developments in each state to make a list of which ones have seen the biggest health improvements.

The list was compiled by WalletHub in order to determine where in the country Americans’s health is recovering the most, making it safest to reopen.

“Until the potential benefits outweigh the health risks, states will not be able to move to their next phases of reopening, and thus will not see substantial economic growth,” financial writer Adam McCann wrote June 10.

The researchers used data from the U.S. Census Bureau, The COVID Tracking Project and to compare the 50 states and the District of Columbia against 11 key metrics in five overall categories to determine which states were the healthiest.

The five categories were Death Rate This Week, Other Death Rate Metrics, Positive COVID-19 Testing Rate This Week, Other Positive COVID-19 Testing Rate Metrics and Transmission Number.

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After each state was ranked, it was categorized into either a positive health category, like the lowest death rate, or a negative health category, like the highest death rate.

Alaska, Hawaii, Vermont and Montana were the states with the biggest health improvements in terms of low death rates, low positive testing rates and lowest current estimated transmission numbers.

The states with the highest death rates included Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Michigan, New Jersey and Massachusetts.

Virginia, Utah, Nebraska, Massachusetts and Arizona had the highest positive test rates in the time period the data encompassed.

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The highest COVID-19 current estimated transmission numbers, which approximate the average number of people an infected person will transmit COVID-19 to, were in California, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Minnesota.

Source: WalletHub


Researchers also found that blue states, categorized by how they voted in the 2016 presidential election, have seen the biggest improvements in health, with blue states ranking 25.76 and red states ranking 26.17.

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As of Friday, there were over 2.19 million cases of COVID-19 in the United States and 118,809 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins.

Although the number of cases in many states continues to grow, the death rate has continued to decrease, USA Today reported.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicted Thursday that by July 11, the nationwide death toll from the disease may reach 145,000, according to The Washington Post.

Several states, such as California, are now requiring people to wear face coverings outside of their homes.

“I’m worried that people have kind of accepted where we are as a new normal,” Tom Inglesby, the director of the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, told StatNews.

Yonatan Grad, an infectious disease expert at Harvard’s Chan School of Public Health, is worried about the response to the rise in cases in states that have already reopened.

“It’s still not entirely clear to me whether there’s the political and social will that could sustain another round of community lockdown,” Grad said.

“So if not, what are we going to do?” he added.

“And as communities start to open up and go through phase 1, 2, 3 of reopening, what are going to be the triggers for introducing restrictions again, and which restrictions?”

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith