In order to calculate the rankings, the personal finance website compared the 50 US states and the District of Columbia on 46 key metrics, ranging from the number of identified cases of Covid-19 per capita and whether schools are closed, to numbers of available ICU beds and policies dictating that people stay in their homes.
The 10 states with the most aggressive measures in place, in ascending order, were California, Rhode Island, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, Maine, Colorado and Louisiana. The least aggressive were Mississippi, Nevada, Tennessee, Idaho, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Missouri.
These represent updated rankings since WalletHub’s previous report on the subject; the study noted that some states have moved in the intervening weeks. Hawaii, for example, has moved 34 points up the ranking, to number 11 overall, partly driven by the state increasing the number of tests it administers per 100,000 residents by a factor of 400. Colorado moved 26 positions up the rankings, reaching number nine, due to its more aggressive prevention measures and statewide closures of bars, schools and restaurants, while Maine was also a higher mover, climbing from 33 to eight in the rankings; this state has banned gatherings of 10 people or more and closed bars and restaurants, among other strategies.
“Some of the key reasons why California is the most aggressive state against the coronavirus include the closure of schools, bars and restaurants in the state, as well as the state-wide shelter-in-place order currently in effect. California is also one of the states now requiring early prescription refills,” said Jill Gonzalez, an analyst at WalletHub. “[However], the state-level measures that Mississippi has taken during the coronavirus pandemic have been relatively small. For example, the state has not closed bars or restaurants, while many other states have. Plus, Mississippi lags behind other states in Covid-19 tests administered per capita.”
Such disparities illustrate the potential pitfalls of a system where so much power and leeway are granted to individual states – a system that, of course, is highly beneficial in other areas. Arguably this illustrates a need for the federal government to be more stringent, at least in times of unprecedented crisis such as this pandemic.
The full report can be read here.