How Maryland, Virginia, DC fared in nationwide study on COVID mortality

A new state-by-state analysis of COVID-19 death rates showed Maryland had the fifth fewest deaths in the country per 100,000 residents, while D.C. had the second-highest rate in the nation.

The study, published in the medical journal The Lancet, showed death rates varied dramatically by state, in analyzing the rates of COVID deaths in the U.S. between January 2020 and July 2022.

According to the study, in Maryland, 285 per 100,000 people died of COVID. The highest rates were in Arizona, with 581 deaths per 100,000, followed by D.C., with 526 deaths per 100,000.

The fewest COVID deaths were in Hawaii, with 147 per 100,000, followed by New Hampshire, with 215 and Maine, with 218.

Virginia ranked 20th, with 336 deaths per 100,000.

“Our results show that SARS-CoV-2 infections and COVID-19 deaths disproportionately clustered in states with lower mean years of education, higher poverty rates, limited access to quality health care, and less interpersonal trust,” according to the study.

Study authors said the health decisions made by state’s was reflected in the findings: “Our results suggest that states that implemented and maintained more policy mandates, including those meant to encourage or require mask use, vaccination, and physical distancing, had, on average, lower infection rates during the period in which those mandates were in effect.”

Researchers included long-standing social and economic factors, race, health care and public health capacity, as well as politics in their findings.

“The states where larger proportions of the population identify as Black (non-Hispanic) or Hispanic had, on average, higher cumulative death rates,” according to the study.

“A larger proportion of the population who voted for the 2020 Republican presidential candidate was significantly associated with a higher cumulative death rate, but we found no statistical association between the party affiliation of a state governor and cumulative death rates from COVID-19,” according to the authors, who did no mention former President Donald Trump by name.

The study showed lower rates of infection and deaths from COVID in states with higher education levels, lower poverty levels, and higher levels of self-reported trust in the federal government and scientific researchers.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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