This Is the Deadliest State for COVID-19

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Despite attempts at normalization, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to claim lives, both worldwide and nationwide. More than two years in, the COVID-19 pandemic has killed almost 981,000 people in the United States, with nearly 30,000 deaths in the past two weeks alone. Largely because of the pandemic, U.S. life expectancy overall decreased by nearly two years in 2020. 

One bright spot is that hospitalizations hit a new low as of March 31, with just over 16,000 people in the hospital. This is a far cry from the peak of nearly 160,000 set in January during the omicron surge, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services. And though the highly contagious BA.2 omicron subvariant is now the dominant strain in the U.S., data from other countries suggests it does not make people sicker than the earlier version. (This is how COVID fatality rates compare with those of other diseases.)

To find the deadliest state for COVID-19, 24/7 Tempo ranked states by the average daily deaths over the most recent seven days per 100,000 people, using data from federal, state, and local sources as of March 31. 

Currently, Rhode Island ranks as the deadliest state for the virus, with an average of 13 daily deaths over the past seven days, or 1.2 deaths per 100,000 people. That represents a significant surge, with the average of new daily deaths being more than 2,000% higher than it was 14 days ago. 

Other states with relatively high COVID-19 deaths rates over the past week include West Virginia, Nebraska, Arizona, and Kentucky, with average new deaths increasing in West Virginia and Nebraska and decreasing in Arizona and Kentucky. Encouragingly, the average number of daily deaths has fallen in 40 states. (This is how many people have died from COVID-19 in each state.)

On the other end of the scale is Hawaii, which reported an average of 0.7 daily deaths over the past seven days, or 0.05 per 100,000 people. Though low, the average daily death rate was zero 14 days ago.

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