Texas is the 6th slowest state nationwide in its public health recovery from the pandemic, according to a new study.
“Texas’ slow recovery means that the state is still struggling with the pandemic,” said Jill Gonzalez, an analyst with WalletHub. “The high COVID-19 incidence rate is holding down economic and labor market recovery, and is keeping people from traveling or simply enjoying leisure time outside their homes.”
Texas ranked so low in the States That Are Recovering The Quickest From COVID-19 study because of its high positive testing rate at 18% and the use of less than 78% of vaccine supply. The Lone Star state also has the fourth highest COVID death rate, and the sixth largest share of COVID related doctor visits at more than 5%.
“To improve its ranking, Texas would need to increase vaccination, and maintain COVID-19 safety measures such as social distancing and wearing a mask,” Gonzalez told Dallas Express. “This would help economic growth. The unemployment rate would also improve, as it’s currently more than 77% higher than in 2019.”
Some 3.7 million cases of the coronavirus have been reported since the pandemic began, according to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard. That’s compared to 13,936,011 Texans, or 48% of the population who have been fully vaccinated.
“The Delta variant has been known to spread faster,” Gonzalez said in an interview. “Texas’ high positive testing rate is holding the state back from recovering. The state also ranks in the bottom half for vaccination rate, which is another important factor that’s keeping Texas from returning to normal.”
The WalletHub study further found that South Dakota is the state that is recovering the quickest from the pandemic.
“South Dakota ranks as having the quickest recovery from COVID-19 in part because its unemployment rates have decreased between June 2019 and June 2021,” Gonzalez said. “South Dakota is one of only seven states in which no hospitals have reported having supply shortages in the past week, too. As a result, people are going out more, they’re going back to their jobs, and there are also more job offerings.”
Economically, compared to pre-pandemic levels, the study reveals that there was a 5% drop throughout Texas in visits to places like restaurants, cafes, shopping centers, theme parks, museums, libraries and movie theaters, and only a 6% increase in visits to parks, beaches and public gardens.
“These values placed Texas among the bottom ten states,” Gonzalez said. “A state’s public health recovery is essential for its economic recovery. The biggest factors hurting the economy are restrictions on businesses and high unemployment.”
Louisiana is even slower in its public health recovery from the pandemic than Texas, according to the study.
“It has some of the highest COVID-19 death and hospitalization rates in the country,” Gonzalez added.