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Updated WalletHub Study: Safest States to Live in During the COVID-19 Pandemic

With around 51% of the population fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and vaccination being essential for getting the economy back on track, WalletHub today released updated rankings for the Safest States During COVID-19, along with accompanying videos and audio files.

In order to find out the safest states during the COVID-19 pandemic, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across five key metrics. Our data set includes the rates of COVID-19 transmission, positive testing, hospitalizations and death, as well as the share of the eligible population getting vaccinated. Below, you can see highlights from the report, along with a WalletHub Q&A.

California’s Safety During Coronavirus (1=Best; 25=Avg.):

  • 9th – Vaccination Rate
  • 17th – Positive Testing Rate
  • 29th – Hospitalization Rate
  • 3rd – Death Rate
  • 21st – Transmission Rate

Note: Rankings are based on data available as of 12:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, August 18, 2021.

To view the full report and your state’s rank, please visit:

WalletHub Q&A

What do record COVID-19 hospitalization numbers in some states mean for the economy?

“The fact that there are record COVID-19 hospitalization numbers in some states is bad news for the economy. Hospitalizations and deaths are the most important metrics for measuring the danger of the COVID-19 pandemic, now that we have vaccinated a significant share of the population. Rising hospitalizations may point to the need for some restrictions on gatherings and businesses to return, at least locally,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “If we can’t get rising hospitalizations under control and some states end up needing to reinstitute restrictions as a result, this will dampen our economic recovery and reduce consumer confidence.”

What does it mean for the economy that the number of daily COVID-19 cases is rising?

“The rate of COVID-19 cases is no longer a relevant metric for predicting the pandemic’s impact on the economy, though it used to be before the vaccine. Now that there is a vaccine and a majority of the population has been vaccinated, what really impacts the economy is the share of people with COVID-19 who experience severe illness or die,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Since the vaccine has been shown to drastically minimize the symptoms of COVID-19 so far, we should only be alarmed if we see a significant increase in severe illness and death. The higher that rate rises, the more likely it will be that we have to reinstitute local lockdowns or other business restrictions, which will have a negative impact on the economy.”

What impact do unvaccinated people have on the economy?

“Our economic recovery will not reach its full potential until the vast majority of people who are medically able to get vaccinated do so. The more people who decline to get vaccinated, the more risk there is to public health, especially as the new delta COVID-19 variant spreads. The safety level of the country impacts the economy because it is tied to the lifting of restrictions and it determines how confident people are to go out and spend money,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “While we have made a lot of progress with vaccination, recent polls have found that most people who are still unvaccinated do not plan to ever get the vaccine. Investing in campaigns to convince more people to get vaccinated may lead to bigger economic returns down the line.”

How will safer conditions for vacationers this summer impact the economy?

“Safer conditions for vacationers this summer should have a very positive impact on the economy. Consumer confidence is up due to the vaccine, and over two-thirds of Americans plan to travel this summer. The 4th of July weekend demonstrated people’s willingness to take a trip, as air travel rose to levels higher than before the pandemic, and road travel was at an all-time high,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “This summer, tourist attractions, entertainment venues, retail stores, restaurants and accommodation providers should see a large boost in revenue. Travel providers, like airlines, bus companies and cruise lines, should also have significant gains compared to last year. More money being spent on vacations leads to businesses hiring more employees, who will then put their earnings back into the economy.”

Is the District of Columbia, the place with the lowest death rate, one of the places that is vaccinating most?

“In addition to having the lowest death rate in the nation in the past week, the District of Columbia ranks as the 13th highest when it comes to the share of the population age 12 and over who have received at least one dose of the vaccine,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Increasing the number of people vaccinated is essential for getting control of the pandemic.”

This article was released by WalletHub.