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Where Connecticut Stands Nationally: More to COVID Fight Than Vaccination Rates

June 24, 2021

So how’s Connecticut doing?

The state proudly points to the percentage of population fully vaccinated against COVID-19, now the fourth-best in the nation at 59.11 percent as of June 23, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine distribution and administration data tracker.

But there’s much more state-by-state information from the COVID Risk & Vaccine Tracker available from COVID Act Now, a nonprofit affiliated with Georgetown, Stanford and Harvard universities. When assessing daily new cases per 100,000 people, infection rate, positive test rate, intensive-care unit capacity used, percent of population vaccinated (at least one dose) and current vulnerability level, here’s the most obvious conclusion:

The states with the lowest vaccination rates include some of the worst at neutralizing COVID as most of the country reopens. These states could be particularly vulnerable to the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant.

First, let’s look at Connecticut’s numbers, with national ranking in parenthesis.

  • New cases (per 100,000): 1.1 (5th lowest).
  • Infection rate: 0.76 (13th lowest).
  • Positive test rate: 0.5 percent (5th lowest).
  • ICU capacity used: 49 percent (4th lowest).
  • Vaccination rate: 66.2 (4th highest).
  • Vulnerability level: Very low (ranking not available).

“We are doing phenomenal compared to the rest of the country,” says Dr. Ulysses Wu, Hartford HealthCare’s System Director of Infection Disease and Chief Epidemiologist. “But the curve of vaccinations has definitely leveled off.”

The Biden administration, in fact, announced this week that it would miss its goal getting at least one vaccine dose to 70 percent of adults by July 4. The new  target is 70 percent of Americans 27 years old and up receiving at least one shot through the July 4th holiday weekend. (For now, 70 percent of Americans 30 and up have already received at least one shot.)

The nation’s Bottom 10, the least-vaccinated states:

  1. Mississippi: 35.7 percent.
  2. Louisiana: 37.5.
  3. Wyoming: 38.7.
  4. Alabama: 39.1.
  5. Idaho: 39.1.
  6. Tennessee: 41.0.
  7. Arkansas: 41.2.
  8. Georgia: 42.5.
  9. West Virginia: 42.8.
  10. South Carolina: 43.0.

All but three of those states — Wyoming (very low), West Virginia (very low) and Idaho (low) — have either very high or high COVID vulnerability levels now. Yet Wyoming is second-highest in daily new cases (9.9 per 100,000 people), No. 13 in highest infection rate (0.94) and No. 8 in highest positive test rate (4.2 percent). Perhaps vulnerability remains very low because it’s the nation’s least-populated state, with 579,000 people.

Notably, the 10 least populated states have either a very low or low vulnerability. Only Pennsylvania, at medium, has less than a very high or high vulnerability level among the 10 most populated states.

Missouri, just outside the Bottom 10 vaccination rates at 44.2 percent, has the highest infection rate in the country at 11.3 cases per 100,000 people. Health experts attribute it to the reluctance to get vaccinated and the rapid spread of the Delta variant.