COVID-19 deaths have risen at a faster and faster pace each day, and on one day last week topped 4,000 which is a record. The U.S. toll stands at 375,039, up by 3,574 yesterday according to the Microsoft Bing COVID-19 Tracker. In Vermont, the fatal count is 156, the lowest among all states. The reasons are a combination of a small population, and aggressive government efforts to hold down the spread of the disease.
The New York Times tracks deaths per 100,000 based on a seven-day average. Vermont is among the lowest on this list at .39. At the top of the list, the number for Arizona is 2.01.
Vermont also has the lowest number of confirmed cases among all states at 8,790. The next lowest is Hawaii at 23,143.
Vermont has the second-lowest population among states, at 623,347. However, that is hardly the sole reason for its low confirmed case and fatal case counts. North Dakota is 47th based on population count at 765,309. It has 94,566 confirmed cases and 1,360 fatal ones. South Dakota ranks 46th in population among all states at 892,717. It has 102,901 confirmed cases and 1,570 fatal ones.
Vermont’s low count has been attributed to careful management of measures meant to slow the spread of the disease. According to the official state site HealthVermont.gov, there are two strict measures in place. “The holidays are over and we have returned to the protocol that you may not gather with anyone you don’t live with” and “All travel to and from Vermont now requires quarantine. The only exception is essential travel. Vermonters should limit non-essential travel.” Essentially, the state is locked down.
Vermont’s strict rules have been in place for months and should serve as an example of how government can set best practices to deal with the pandemic. However, these examples have been almost completely rejected by states that include North Dakota and South Dakota which is why there is such a large spread in case numbers from state to state.