Washington Is Best State for COVID-Era Labor Protections, Oxfam Says

The U.S. government’s response to COVID-19 has been widely condemned by public health experts. While countries such as New Zealand, Taiwan, and Norway moved quickly to enact national strategies utilizing sophisticated contact tracing and testing efforts, the Trump administration issued contradictory advice, dismissed the virus’ severity, and largely left responsibility to individual states.

[READ: 10 Hardest-Working States]

One analysis, from the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, ranked the United States’ pandemic policy response 27th out of 31 rich countries, and Americans also give their government failing grades: In a study from the Pew Research Center, 47% of Americans thought their country had handled the pandemic well, the second-lowest figure among 11 nationalities.

The country’s failure to control the virus has brought a corresponding economic crisis, plunging millions of Americans into unemployment and housing insecurity. But Americans’ experience with the pandemic — and their ability to work safely — has still varied widely by where they live. To determine the best states to work in during the coronavirus pandemic, the nonprofit Oxfam America developed a new index that measures each state (plus Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.) on its worker protections, health care and unemployment support for residents. The index has a maximum score of 100 and incorporates data related to state policies on child care, food assistance and free COVID-19 treatment, among others. The worker protections dimension was weighted most heavily, accounting for 45% of each state’s overall score; unemployment support accounted for 35% and health care comprised 20%.

Washington state ranked as the best overall state to work in during COVID-19, with an overall score of 76.41. The Evergreen State also scored first for unemployment support and second for workplace protections. New Jersey ranked second overall, followed by California and Massachusetts.

Here are the 10 best states to work in during COVID-19, according to Oxfam America:

1. Washington
2. New Jersey
3. California
4. Massachusetts
5. Connecticut
6. New York
7. District of Columbia
8. Rhode Island
9. Vermont
10. Oregon

Several Southern states scored among the country’s worst. Alabama, with an overall score of 17.76, ranked last, just ahead of Missouri and Georgia. Alabama, Missouri, South Carolina and Tennessee all tied for worst in the health care dimension, largely because they have not enacted policies such as expanded Medicaid and waived cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatment. The lowest-ranking states have also failed to provide housing assistance.

Here are the 10 worst states to work in during COVID-19:

43. Idaho
44. Tennessee
45. Utah
46. South Carolina
47. South Dakota
48. Mississippi
49. Wyoming
50. Georgia
51. Missouri
52. Alabama

More from U.S. News

These Are the Hardest-Working States in the U.S.

Alaska’s Salmon Fisheries Confront COVID-19

New York’s Economy Suffering Most During Coronavirus

Washington Is Best State for COVID-Era Labor Protections, Oxfam Says originally appeared on usnews.com

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