According to a new study by WalletHub, Texas is among the top 20 safest states to be in during the COVID-19 pandemic. This comes as a drastic improvement from last month.
The WalletHub Safest States During COVID-19 study found that the Lone Star state’s positive testing rate dropped from 8.6% the week of September 29 to 4.7% the week of November 3.
“The fact that the positive testing rate dropped is most likely directly connected to the increase in vaccination rate from 72.5% to 75.3%,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “The hospitalization and death rates were also a lot lower at the start of November compared to the beginning of October.”
In October, Texas ranked 40th on the list compared to 20th this month.
“The fact that Texas ranked in the top half means that it’s currently among the safest states to be in,” Gonzalez told Dallas Express. “The biggest surprise was the big drop in the death rate registered during the week of November 15 compared to the week of October 6. Texas still ranks in the second half in terms for its vaccination rate and close to the middle of the pack for death rate. These are the main areas where it should improve.”
The No. 1 safest state during COVID is the District of Columbia (D.C.), up from No. 5 on the list last month.
“D.C. has increased its vaccination rate, which determined a drop in its positive testing, hospitalization, and death rates,” Gonzalez said in an interview. “To catch up with D.C., Texas would need to have a much lower positive testing, death, and hospitalization rate. Most importantly, Texas needs to have a higher vaccination rate.”
The current vaccination rate in the nation’s capital is nearly 91%, according to the study. Nationwide, the vaccination rate is 59%.
“Texas’ current estimated transmission rate is 0.99, which is among the lowest in the country,” Gonzalez said. “However, the state would be better prepared if it had a higher vaccination rate.”
Florida is the only Republican state that ranked in the top 5 despite vocally opposing forced COVID-19 immunization.
“Right now, Democratic states are safer than Republican states,” Gonzalez said. “The average rank for Democratic states is 20, while the average rank for Republican states is 32.”
According to media reports, the Sunshine state sued President Joe Biden’s administration last month, alleging that the Commander-in-Chief lacks the authority to mandate the vaccine for federal contractors.
“Just because the state is against vaccine mandates does not mean that people are not getting vaccinated,” Gonzalez said. “Right now, the vaccination rate in Florida is 81%. This could explain why Florida had the lowest death rate during the week of November 15, as well as the second-lowest transmission rate, and the eighth-lowest positive testing rate.”
Louisiana, a neighboring state to Texas, is among the states with the lowest vaccination rates, but it also has the lowest transmission rate.
“Louisiana is also among the safest states during COVID, despite its low vaccination rate, which is 65%,” Gonzalez added. “While this percentage is one of the lowest in the country, it’s still fairly high. The state does have a low transmission rate as well as low positive testing and hospitalization rates. This could be because people are still staying isolated from one another, but also wearing their masks and maintaining social distance while outside.”