This blog post ranks states in three coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response performance areas relative to other states. It updates previous blog posts on this topic . This update is published now because there was significant spread throughout the country in the past few months that changed relative rankings for many states. It is also done at this time because a new element has been added that will likely (and hopefully) change the disease trajectory dramatically - vaccine availability. In a few months the relative state rankings will be examined again, but with the additional measure of vaccine implementation within states.
The United States exceeded 17.5 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 300,000 related deaths this past week. On December 16th, the single day record for deaths was set with the passing of 3,600 people and nearly 250,000 new cases. These markers were crossed during a period of increased spread generally nationwide that began in the Summer. As is the nature of the virus, the spread continues to shift over time from region to region. A Summer uptick in the South shifted to the MidWest and Mountain West in early Fall. That outbreak fortunately is now subsiding. Prevalence has now shifted to California, Tennessee, the Rust Belt, and into the NorthEast as indicated below graphic map in the New York Times Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count on December 18, 2020.