LIFE | WALLETHUB: Hawaii, Alaska ranked as states with biggest health improvements during COVID-19


With new COVID-19 cases trending downward and states’ infection and death rates dictating the pace at which they can reopen their economies, WalletHub today released its report on the States with the Biggest Health Improvements During COVID-19, along with accompanying videos.

In order to determine where Americans’ health is recovering most from the COVID-19 pandemic, and thus where it is safest to reopen, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 11 key metrics that reflect the COVID-19 death rate, as well as the rates at which people test positive and the virus spreads. This report focuses on the latest developments in each state rather than which states have been hit the hardest throughout the pandemic, and seeks to highlight which states have experienced a positive trend in their residents’ health in the past few weeks. Below, you can see highlights from the report, along with a WalletHub Q&A.

Highest-Ranked Lowest-Ranked
1. Hawaii 42. Georgia
2. Alaska 43. Michigan
3. Vermont 44. Massachusetts
4. Montana 45. New Mexico
5. Idaho 46. Indiana
6. Wyoming 47. Mississippi
7. South Dakota 48. Iowa
8. Oklahoma 49. North Dakota
9. Oregon 50. New Hampshire
10. West Virginia 51. Arizona

To view the full report and your state’s rank, please visit:

WalletHub Q&A

Is it possible to fully reopen our economy before we develop a vaccine for COVID-19?

“It is possible to fully reopen the economy before we have a coronavirus vaccine, but it will take careful planning. The most important condition for a safe reopening is to pass laws that mandate wearing masks, keeping six-foot distances and other important social distancing measures while in public. Guidelines and suggestions have not been effective enough so far,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “If residents know that all people in a state, or at least the vast majority, are taking precautions, they will be more comfortable going out to support businesses.”

How does the health of a state’s residents during the pandemic affect economic trends in that state?

“By observing the rates of infection and death from COVID-19 in a state, we can get a better idea of not only when the state will be capable of moving to the next phase of reopening, but also when its residents will be comfortable resuming their pre-COVID-19 activities. States must consider the financial benefits of reopening against the risks to residents’ lives,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “We accept a certain level of risk with any potentially hazardous activity, such as driving a car or playing sports, but only if the rewards outweigh that risk. If a state has high infection rates and death rates from COVID-19, the economic benefits of reopening may not outweigh the dangers.”

Why does Hawaii have the biggest health improvement during the COVID-19 pandemic?

“Hawaii is ranked as having the biggest health improvement in recent weeks because the state’s COVID-19 death rate for the latest week was zero, and there was only a very slight increase in the number of people who tested positive for the virus,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “People with COVID-19 in Hawaii have the lowest expected rates of transmission to other people, too.”

Why does Arizona have the smallest health improvement during the coronavirus pandemic?

“Arizona has seen the smallest health improvement in recent weeks because people with COVID-19 in the state have the fifth highest expected rate of transmitting the disease to others, which has led to some of the largest increases in the country of people testing positive for COVID-19 and dying from the disease,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst.

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