This blog post provides relative rankings of states in four coronavirus disease (COVID-19) performance categories. This update is published now because there was significant spread throughout the country that began in October, but is now subsiding. It is also issued at this time because vaccines have now been distributed for more than a month and some measures of performance are now available to assess state vaccine implementation.
The United States exceeded 25 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 430,000 related deaths this week. A dramatic increase in cases and deaths began in October. The event is subsiding as new cases and 7 day averages decrease across the country. Daily deaths that typically lag cases by about two weeks have also begun to decline.
Thus far, 48,386,275 vaccine doses have been distributed to states and territories and some federal departments and agencies. 26,193,682 doses have been administered, of which 4,263,056 were second doses.
Second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the Moderna vaccine are administered 28 and 21 days respectively after the first dose. Second doses are an increasing portion of doses administered from state vaccine allotments.
Like so much of the pandemic response, specific vaccination priorities within states fall under the authority of governors aided by federal funding and FDA recommendations.
The state rankings that follow measure overall state performance in COVID-19 specific public health outcomes and economic damage caused by a state's restrictions on ecomic and social activity. The analysis is heavily skewed toward public health outcome as a priority giving it over 70 percent of ranking weight and economic impact 30 percent.
The result of this analysis provided the following state rankings from worst ( Rank 51) to best ( Rank 1). The color coding indicates better (green) to worse (red) groupings of about twenty percent of states in each group.
To measure overall state performance four factors were considered: 1) percent of state population that died with COVID-19; 2) percent of those testing postive that died; 3) percent of population that has recevied at least one dose of the vaccine, and 4) economic performance as measured by the percent change in jobs between December, 2020 and December, 2021.
Three components of public health are measured to make up 70 percent or 125 of 175 possible points of the state rank. Public health has three components: Deaths were weighted greatest at 90 points; percentage of those testing positive that died (an indicator of overall state public health performance) was weighted 10 points; and percent of the population that has received at least one dose of the vaccine was weigthed at 25 points. Economic performance based on the percent change in jobs over the past year was weighted at 50 points.
The overall state rankings above are derived from the four categories in the next table listed in state alphabetical order:
As an example of how the ranking is calculated take bottom ranked Massachusetts at #51:
Massachusetts ranked 49th in the percentage of its population that died with COVID. That category is weighted 90 points. 50 x 90 = 4500 points for category one.
Massachusetts ranked 48th based on the percentage of those that tested positive and died with COVID. That category is weighted 10 points. 48 x 10 = 480.
Massachusetts ranked 22nd in the percentage of its population that has received at least one dose of the vaccine. That category is weighted 25 points. 22 x 25 = 550.
Masachusetts ranked 48th for the percentage change in jobs in the state from December, 2019 and December, 2020 (latest data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics). That category is weighted 50. 48 x 50 = 2400.
Thus, Massachusetts had a total score of 4500 + 480 + 550 + 2400 = 7930. This is the highest score of any state. Therefore, Massachusetts is ranked at the bottom of performance at Rank #51.
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