Since the first death attributable to COVID-19 was reported in the United States on Feb. 29, 2020, an estimated 584,153 Americans have died — and that number continues to grow every day. Over the last seven-day period, an average of 573 Americans diagnosed with COVID-19 have died each day.
Adjusting for population, no state has reported more coronavirus deaths than New Jersey. Since the pandemic began, New Jersey has reported a total of 26,084 deaths — or 293 for every 100,000 people. Per capita deaths attributable to the virus are also high in New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Arizona. In each of these places, the death rate stands at at least 245 per 100,000 people.
For context, the national COVID-19 death rate stands at 179 deaths for every 100,000 people.
To date, Hawaii has reported the fewest coronavirus deaths on a per capita basis. There have been an estimated 35 COVID-19 deaths across the state for every 100,000 people since the pandemic began.
Though it is not always the case, states with higher than average COVID-19 deaths per capita are often also home to larger high-risk populations. One such group is retirement-age Americans, who are at least 90 times more likely to die from the virus if infected than those in the 18 to 29 age group. Nationwide, 16.5% of the population fall into that age group.
Though the U.S. has one of the highest per capita COVID-19 death rates in the world, Americans infected with the virus today appear more likely to survive than those who were infected earlier in the pandemic. Medical care providers now have months of experience treating COVID-19, and over that period have established more effective practices in treating the disease. According to one study conducted by researchers at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine released in October, the chances of death among critically ill patients was 18 percentage points lower in August 2020 than it was in March.
And now, inoculations against the coronavirus are underway in the United States, which will inevitably contribute to a reduction in the death rate.
All COVID-19 data used in the story is current as of May 24, 2021.