In order to determine where Americans’ health is recovering or worsening the most from the COVID-19 pandemic, and thus where reopening efforts can accelerate, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 13 key metrics. Those include the COVID-19 death rate, hospitalization rate and the rate at which people test positive. This report focuses on the latest developments in each state rather than which states have been hit the hardest throughout the pandemic. Below, you can see highlights from the report, along with a WalletHub Q&A.
South Carolina’s Health During Coronavirus (1=Most Improved; 25=Avg.):
- 40th – Death Rate This Week
- 44th – Positive COVID-19 Testing Rate This Week
- 10th – COVID-19 Current Estimated Transmission Number*
- 38th – COVID-19 Hospitalization Rate This Week
*Estimates the average number of people to whom an infected person will transmit COVID-19.
You can see the full report here.
What are some major factors that contribute to some states flattening the curve and others failing to do so?
“One of the main factors that contributed to some states flattening the COVID-19 curve while others failed is the presence of mandatory social distancing and mask wearing restrictions. States that don’t require all residents to wear masks, such as Florida and Arizona, have had some of the highest death rates recently,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “States that waited longer before easing up on their COVID-19 restrictions, such as Connecticut, tend to be doing better than those that reopened quickly or never had large-scale closures in the first place.”
If states see spikes in COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations, should they increase restrictions?
“States should increase restrictions if they start to see spikes in COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations, but they should not respond with more lockdowns,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “In response to spikes, states should enforce measures like mandatory mask wearing, temperature checks before entering crowded indoor places like grocery stores, COVID-19 tests before entering airports and stricter occupancy limits indoors. While people may find increased safety measures to be inconvenient during the reopening process, we will not be able to make any significant progress without them.”
Is it possible to fully reopen the economy before we develop a vaccine for COVID-19?
“It is possible to fully reopen the economy before we have a coronavirus vaccine, but it will take careful planning. The most important condition for a safe reopening is to pass laws that mandate wearing masks, keeping six-foot distances and other important social distancing measures while in public. Guidelines and suggestions have not been effective enough so far,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “If residents know that all people in a state, or at least the vast majority, are taking precautions, they will be more comfortable going out to support businesses.”
How does the health of a state’s residents during the pandemic affect economic trends in that state?
“By observing the rates of infection and death from COVID-19 in a state, we can get a better idea of when the state will be capable of moving to the next phase of reopening, as well as when its residents will be comfortable resuming their pre-COVID-19 activities. Consumer confidence is key to an economic rebound,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “States must consider the financial benefits of reopening against the risks to residents’ lives. We accept a certain level of risk with any potentially hazardous activity, such as driving a car or playing sports, but only if the rewards outweigh that risk. If a state has high infection rates and death rates from COVID-19, the economic benefits of reopening may not outweigh the dangers.”
Why does New York have the biggest health improvement during the COVID-19 pandemic?
“New York is ranked as having the biggest health improvement because the state’s COVID-19 death rate and hospitalization rate for the latest week were both among the lowest in the country,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “People with COVID-19 in New York have the lowest expected rates of transmission to other people, too.”
Why does Mississippi have the smallest health improvement during the coronavirus pandemic?
“Mississippi has seen the smallest health improvement because it has the highest COVID-19 death rate and second highest hospitalization rate in the country for the latest week, along with the highest rate of people testing positive for the virus,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst.