The state, which ranks 31st in population density, has moved up to No. 38 in tested cases of COVID-19 per capita — it was previously last. It remains 48th in total public health emergency preparedness funding per capita.

When it comes to the aggressiveness of each state’s response to COVID-19 and mitigating its spread, Texas, which was found to be one of the least vigilant in the nation (49th) when the initial findings of a report from WalletHub were released a week ago, has moved to No. 39.

The updated rankings, released today, are based on data available as of 1 p.m. CT on March 23, so they don’t reflect the stay-at-home order issued this morning for Houston and Harris County. That order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. tonight and will expire on April 3.    

Understand, prepare for and respond to COVID-19 in your community or organization.

The new rankings of the most and least aggressive states against the coronavirus pandemic compare the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 46 metrics. The initial report used 35 key metrics. The data set ranges from “tested cases of COVID-19 per capita to school closures, ICU beds and shelter-in-place policies.”

The local stay-at-home order is the latest move by Houston and Harris County leaders to slow the pandemic. Last week, a ruling was issued that closed all bars and nightclubs and ordered restaurants to stop in-service dining for 15 days beginning 8 a.m. on March 17.

 

Source: WalletHub

Here’s how Texas ranked among some of the measurements used in the new rankings:

19th — State and local public health laboratories per capita

38th — Tested cases of COVID-19 per capita

16th — Public hospital system quality

11th — Share of employment from small businesses

31st — Population density

23rd — Share of workers with access to paid sick leave

48th — Total public health emergency preparedness (PHEP) funding per capita

41st — Public health care spending per capita
 

These were the rankings for Texas based on the March 16 data:

19th — State and local public health laboratories per capita

51st — Tested cases of COVID-19 per capita

16th — Public hospital system quality

31st — Population density

23rd — Share of workers with access to paid sick leave

48th — Total public health emergency preparedness (PHEP) funding per capita

41st — Public health care spending per capita

Rankings for the top-five most aggressive states changed with the updated report: California (more than 2,240 reported cases and 39 deaths), Rhode Island (106 cases / 0 deaths), Maryland (290 cases and 3 deaths), New Hampshire (101 cases / 0 deaths) and New Jersey (2,844 cases / 27 deaths). These figures are current as of March 24.

There has been a sharp rise in new cases over the past seven days. That increase, which is due, in part, to more aggressive testing, is reflected in the number of reported cases among states ranked as the five most aggressive against the coronavirus a week ago: Rhode Island (20-plus cases), Connecticut (40+), Maryland (50+), New York (1,300+) and Washington (900+). At that time, more than half of known cases in the U.S. are were in California, New York and Washington State. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 3,487 total cases and 68 deaths caused by the virus, most of those in Washington.

The CDC now reports more than 44,183 cases in the U.S. and 544 deaths.

On March 16, there were 69 cases in Texas but Gov. Greg Abbott said the state should expect an “exponential” increase soon. As of March 24, there are 728 cases in the state and seven have died.

The five least aggressive states in the new rankings are Arkansas, Idaho, Tennessee, Nevada and Mississippi.

The five least-aggressive states in the initial rankings were Oklahoma, Nevada, Texas, Mississippi and Wyoming. Oklahoma is now No. 46 and Wyoming is No. 32.

Why is California ranked No. 1?

“Some of the key reasons why California is the most aggressive state against the coronavirus include the closure of schools, bars and restaurants in the state, as well as the statewide shelter-in-place order currently in effect. California is also one of the states now requiring early prescription refills,” says WalletHub spokesperson Jill Gonzalez.

Why is Mississippi the least aggressive state against the coronavirus?

“The state-level measures that Mississippi has taken during the coronavirus pandemic have been relatively small,” says Gonzalez. “For example, the state has not closed bars or restaurants, while many other states have. Plus, Mississippi lags behind other states in COVID-19 tests administered per capita.”

Why was Rhode Island ranked No. 1?

“Some of the key reasons why Rhode Island is the most aggressive state against the coronavirus include the closure of schools, bars and restaurants in the state. Rhode Island has also restricted travel for state employees and is among the states that administered the most tests for COVID-19 per capita, among other actions,” said Gonzalez.

“Aggressiveness in combating the coronavirus is not all about recent actions, though. A lot of it is years in the making. For example, Rhode Island has the infrastructure to handle this type of pandemic in large part because of its relatively high funding for public health programs and its high number of health care facilities.”

Why is Wyoming the least aggressive state against the coronavirus?

“Wyoming has taken few drastic measures at the state level in the face of the coronavirus pandemic,” says Gonzalez. “It has administered relatively few COVID-19 tests per capita, for example. It has not closed schools, bars or restaurants, either.”

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