Wednesday, April 8, 2020

COVID-19 Death Rates by State

The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University publishes COVID-19 cases and deaths by state. This is their data as of November 22, 2020. As with all images on this blog, click to enlarge.
COVID-19 Cases, Deaths, Death Rate by State

If you are infected with the virus, how likely are you to die? Where you live makes a big difference. Death rates range from .37% in Alaska to 5.80% in New York. In other words, if infected, you are 15 times more likely to die from COVID-19 if you live in New York than in Alaska. The national average is 2.32% and the global average is 2.37%. Only 3 states have death rates less than .64%: Alaska, Utah, and Wyoming. Wyoming and Alaska both have small populations and are quite rural. Utah is a special case. It is highly urbanized (just behind Rhode Island and Massachusetts) and it has a relative large population (just behind Connecticut and Oklahoma).
States with Low COVID-19 Death Rates

These factors make Utah unique:
  • Utah has the lowest median age (31) of any US state. This is because Utah families have more children than families in other states. The median household size (3.13) in Utah is the highest in the nation.
  • Utah has excellent health care infrastructure. It consistently ranks among the best states in the country for the quality and timliness of health care services delivered.
  • Utah state, county, and municipal governments are highly efficient compared with their counterparts nationally. Utahns by and large trust their local government officials and comply with directives.
  • Utah's poverty rate is relatively low.
  • 66.32% of Utahns are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which promulgates healthy lifetyles and a strong sense of community. And that metric understates the Church's broad influence in the state because it does not count anyone under 8 years of age.
Frequently the national media publishes "beauty pageant" data ranking the US states for this, that, or the other criteria. Over the years, I have been intrigued to notice how often Utah ranks #1 or near the top for the good stuff and #50 or near the bottom for the bad. When the Internet was fairly new, I published a website called "ProUtah." It was a lot of work and after a couple of years, I gave it up, but in that time I compiled more than 100 examples of Utah's relative superiority to the other 49 states. A handful of contrary examples surfaced, so I quickly put up a sister site named "ConUtah," but overall the trend was strongly favorable toward the Beehive State. My motive, of course, was to see if I could demonstrate empirically that the Latter-day Saint belief system and lifestyle lead to desirable outcomes. "By their fruits ye shall know them." Matthew 7:20. This statistical approach to comparative religion, using Utah as a convenient proxy for membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, seemed to me to validate the promise in Mosiah 2:41 that adherence to God's commandments brings temporal and spiritual blessings.