(The Center Square) – Louisiana is the least “safest state” with respect to COVID-19, according to a new WalletHub study.
The personal finance website compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia across five key metrics and ranked the overall average scores. Louisiana was last.
With a safety ranking of 1 being the best per category, Louisiana was 50th in vaccination rate, 49th in death rate, 42nd in positive testing rate, 46th in hospitalization rate and 29th in transmission rate.
“As the U.S. continues its efforts to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, staying safe is one of Americans’ top concerns,” study authors said. “Some states are already safer than others, though, based on how well they have kept the pandemic under control and how much they are vaccinating.”
Vermont, Connecticut and Rhode Island were tops on the list, and Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana rounded out the bottom three.
Data used in the study came from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and COVID-19 Electronic Laboratory Reporting.
WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez warned the economy will suffer as a result of lagging vaccinations.
“Our economic recovery will not reach its full potential until the vast majority of people who are medically able to get vaccinated do so,” she said. “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.”
Gonzalez added, “Investing in campaigns to convince more people to get vaccinated may lead to bigger economic returns down the line.”
Gov. John Bel Edwards has dedicated much of the past year and a half to COVID-19 safety, including the recent delta variant surge.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found taxpayer-funded vaccination incentives similar to Louisiana’s $2.3 million “Shot At a Million” campaign don’t work.
“Our results suggest that state-based lotteries are of limited value in increasing vaccine uptake,” said Allan J. Walkey, a physician at Boston Medical Center and a professor of medicine. “Therefore, the resources devoted to vaccine lotteries may be more successfully invested in programs that target underlying reasons for vaccine hesitancy and low vaccine uptake.”