Apr 10, 2023 - COVID

Washington had sixth-lowest COVID death rate in U.S., analysis finds

Cumulative COVID-19 death rates, by state
Data: The Lancet; Map: Alice Feng/Axios

Washington state had one of the country's lowest adjusted rates of COVID-19 deaths during the pandemic, according to a recent analysis published in The Lancet.

What they found: Washington's COVID-19 death rate was 286 deaths per 100,000 people, when adjusting to account for age and comorbidities.

  • That's about 23% lower than the national adjusted death rate, which was 372 deaths per 100,000 people, and the sixth-lowest death rate among states.

Yes, but: The adjusted COVID-19 death rate in Washington was twice as high as in Hawaii, which had the country's lowest death rate (147 deaths per 100,000 people).

  • New Hampshire (215 per 100,000), Maine (218 per 100,000), Vermont (249 per 100,000) and Maryland (285 per 100,000) also had lower adjusted death rates than Washington.

Why it matters: The new report is among the first explorations of the social and economic factors at play during the pandemic in the U.S., and it found a nearly four-fold variation in COVID infection and death rates between states, Axios' Tina Reed reports.

State of play: States with higher poverty, lower rates of educational attainment, less access to quality health care, and lower levels of interpersonal trust saw disproportionately higher rates of COVID infections and deaths.

  • The analysis found that states with mandates encouraging mask use, mobility restriction and vaccination — and mandates kept in place longer — experienced lower infection rates.
  • But, the authors said, only vaccine coverage had a strong association with state-by-state variation in COVID death rates.

Go deeper: Why America was uniquely vulnerable to COVID

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