Surprise, Y'all! Texas Ranks Third Safest State Amid the Pandemic, Survey Finds

Texas was a good state in which to weather the pandemic, apparently.
Texas was a good state in which to weather the pandemic, apparently. Nick Fewings on Unsplash
During the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas hospitals were running out of room at the same time Gov. Greg Abbott used his political might to ban local mask mandates. Some liberal cynics even joked that it appeared the Republican governor had a death wish for his constituents.

Well, it now seems as though the Lone Star State didn’t have it that bad after all, relatively speaking. Texas has been named the third safest state during COVID-19, according to updated rankings by WalletHub, a personal finance website.

South Dakota is taking home the gold and North Carolina has the silver. After Texas come California, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Nevada, North Dakota, Colorado and Iowa.

The experts over at WalletHub based their findings on several metrics, including the rates for death, vaccination, positive testing, hospitalization and the overall level of community transmission.

Digging into WalletHub’s numbers a little deeper, Texas ranked ninth in terms of death and hospitalization rates, plus the level of community transmission. It scored a little worse on its positive testing rate, No. 16, and vaccination rate, No. 28.

On a broader scale, around 66.3% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated against the virus as of Wednesday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This week, the country inched closer to hitting a million deaths from the coronavirus.

Heading into Memorial Day weekend, many Americans will likely feel safe enough to shop, said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez. Consumers are ready to spend, including on travel and items like cars and summer wear.

Gonzalez also said it was a good economic choice for the federal government to lift its public transportation mask mandate. Easing such restrictions will help certain industries recover from the COVID slump, including airliners and hospitality groups.

The omicron variant has started to wane and other restrictions have been lifted, such as proof of vaccination for certain businesses, she continued. An increasing number of sectors are on the path toward activity levels that haven’t been seen since our pre-pandemic days.

But Gonzalez highlights the fact that until the vast majority of folks get the jab, the country's economic recovery won't hit its full potential.

"The more people who decline to get vaccinated, the more risk there is to public health, especially as the new omicron COVID-19 variant spreads," she said. "The safety level of the country impacts the economy because it is tied to the lifting of restrictions and it determines how confident people are to go out and spend money."
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Simone Carter, a staff news reporter at the Dallas Observer, graduated from the University of North Texas' Mayborn School of Journalism. Her favorite color is red, but she digs Miles Davis' Kind of Blue.
Contact: Simone Carter