Health and Healthcare

COVID-19: These Are the States Where People Are Most Likely to Die

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As COVID-19 deaths passed the grim 300,000 mark to 313,797, confirmed cases sprinted above 17.2 million and hospitalizations topped 100,000, the spread of the disease is expected to quicken. As fatal cases increase, data shows that the disease’s death rates vary widely from state to state.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine has one of the most carefully followed and widely regarded COVID-19 prediction models for deaths, daily infections, testing, mask use, hospital resource use and social distancing. Its scientists forecast that 509,000 Americans will die by April 1, if Americans do not take more aggressive measures to arrest the spread of the disease.

One of the most carefully followed figures that measure how deadly COVID-19 is from place to place is deaths per 100,000 people. The nationwide figure is about 70. The highest rate by the measure by far is New Jersey, with a number of 202.69. Vermont has the lowest number at just above 15.

Nine states have death rates per 100,000 that are above 140 (see below). Aside from New Jersey, they include Massachusetts, Connecticut, Louisiana, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota, North Dakota and Mississippi. The figures below are based on data through December 15.

Several states at the top of the list share one thing in common. Most of their coronavirus fatalities occurred early in the spread of the disease. This is particularly true with the states near New York City, which was ravaged by the disease in March and April. This accounts for the presence of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut on the list.

There was also a large outbreak in Boston early in the pandemic, which accounts for much of the Massachusetts figure.

Notably, the two states on this list that have been hit very hard recently are North and South Dakota, where the disease has spread rapidly and unarrested for the past month. The problem has been caused largely by lax rules about mask wearing and social distancing.

This is the state with the fewest doctors per person.

These Are the States With the Most Coronavirus Deaths per 100,000 People

State Population Deaths Mortality Rate
New Jersey 8,882,190 18,003 202.69
Massachusetts 6,892,503 11,513 167.04
North Dakota 762,062 1,195 156.81
Connecticut 3,565,287 5,506 154.43
Rhode Island 1,059,361 1,590 150.09
Louisiana 4,648,794 6,933 149.14
New York 19,453,561 28,100 144.45
Mississippi 2,976,149 4,294 144.28
South Dakota 884,659 1,261 142.54

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