The focus of this article is on the United States COVID-19 numbers with regards to the number of deaths per 1 million people. This data that I've included here may surprise you in terms of our perception from the media about which states have done poorly with limiting the amount of cases and deaths with this pandemic.
Even though Florida did not have any deaths on the date I checked, they still rank 9th overall with deaths per 1 million. The governor can be cavalier about his handling of the crisis but ultimately, I don’t think being in the top 10 of this category after 21 months is not something to brag about. But who knows, if Governor Ron Desantis of Florida runs for president on the Republican ticket, he’ll find a way to spin it and say he’s done a really good job handling the crisis. I’d also say that early on, Florida was not hit with Covid cases like NY or NJ – some journalists speculated that it may have something to do with many in Florida being outside. Interesting speculation but ultimately, they’re in the top 10 in this category so who knows why?
It's critical to know that states such as South Dakota, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and West Virginia were not initially impacted to the same degree as NY, NJ and California. However, they are all now part of the dreaded Top 15. I wonder if the Governor of South Dakota, Kristi Lynn Noem, who has a penchant to create news will publicly mention this fact.
One digression here pertaining to South Dakota, according to the National Education Association, South Dakota ranks near the bottom of US states in teacher pay with an annual salary of $49,000 -- behind only Mississippi for the 2019 - 2020 school year. Again, I wonder if Governor Kristi Noem will publicly mention this dubious distinction.
It's remarkable that Washington State recorded some of the earliest cases of COVID-19. Looking back 18 months, the state, along with NY and NJ were hot spots. If you look in mid-December of 21, Washington is 46th among states with deaths per 1 million population. I wonder if some of those early media critics of the Governor of the state of Washington regarding how he’s handling this crisis, will ultimately make a public appearance and admit that ultimately, Governor Inslee has indeed done a commendable job.
California along with Washington State was some of the hot spots in the west during the spring and summer of 2020. I was surprised to see that California had 5 million cases out of a population of roughly 40 million. However, they rank 35th in this category with 1,915 deaths per 1 million people. The perception might be that California and Washington did an inferior job handling Covid-19. That may be a semi-correct view of these states early in 2020 but ultimately; they’ve fared much better than the majority of states. The old adage applies here: It’s not how you start, but how you finish which matters most. One other thing about the Pacific Northwest, Oregon is also in the neighborhood of Washington's numbers today even though Oregon was initially not a state with high COVID-19 numbers.
Let's move on to the Midwest, some might argue that Wisconsin and Minnesota are sister states, there are certainly more similarities here than differences. If you look at their total population, their difference is around 200,000. However, if you look at the deaths per 1 million people, the difference is only 11. As you can see by the image, they rank 38th and 39th respectively in this category. I’m not sure how much more similar they can be within these data.
Hawaii ranks 50th in terms of the amount of deaths per 1 million people which is an ironic twist as Hawaii was our 50th state added to our Union. They have 747 deaths total within this category. It’s hard to think that Hawaii limited the amount of visitors last year to the islands. In parts of 2020 and ‘21, visitors had to be vaccinated and able to show proof of their vaccination.
Just to be clear, these numbers are fluid and are subject to change. However, because the sample size is much larger than in 2020, these numbers will not be less likely to change moving forward.