COLUMBUS — Ohio ranks last in the country in terms of COVID-19 safety, according to new WalletHub study that looked at five key areas.
The personal finance website compared vaccine rates, death rates, transmissions, positive tests and hospitalizations and found Ohio below average in three categories and ranked the state 51st in the U.S., including the District of Columbia.
“Safety is essential in getting the economy back on track, as the lower COVID-19 transmission and deaths are in a state, the more that state is able to eliminate restrictions on businesses,” report author Adam McCann wrote. “We’ll only be able to fully get back to life as normal once most of the population is vaccinated against coronavirus, and it will be months before we can achieve that.”
Nationwide, only 5% of the population has been fully vaccinated, based on data from Wednesday, according to the report. Ohio ranked 35th in the nation in vaccination rate, and a week-long stretch of poor weather caused many sites around the state to close.
Gov. Mike DeWine also said Pfizer and Moderna expected delays in vaccine shipments because of the weather.
“Ohio ranks as the 17th lowest when it comes to the share of the population age 16 and over who have received at least the first dose of the vaccine,” WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez said. “Increasing the number of people vaccinated is essential for getting control of the pandemic.”
With its low vaccine rate compared with the rest of the country, Ohio ranked last in death rate.
“At the moment, we have found a weak positive correlation between the vaccination-rate ranking and the death-rate ranking. In other words, as the vaccination rate increases, the death rate decreases,” Gonzalez said.
The Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services have scheduled a series of vaccine town hall meetings to help reduce vaccine hesitancy among at-risk populations. The town halls will include medical experts, community leaders and public health professionals.
Ohio ranked 27th in positive-test rate, 22nd in hospitalization rate and 20th in transmission rate.
The safest state in the nation in terms of COVID-19 was Alaska, followed by Hawaii, Maine, North Dakota and Wyoming.