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States with the Most Aggressive Measures in Limiting Coronavirus Exposure


According to the World Health Organization, the primary way that coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads is through close interaction with other people. If people come into contact with droplets exhaled or coughed out by infected people, they are at risk of getting the virus. In response, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that Americans use "social distancing." This includes canceling large events and staying at least two meters away from others when possible, among other measures to limit close contact.

With states taking actions such as closing non-essential businesses, banning even small gatherings, and ordering people to shelter in place to fight the spread of the coronavirus, WalletHub today released updated rankings on the Most Aggressive States Against the Coronavirus.

To identify which states are taking the largest actions to combat coronavirus, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 46 key metrics. The data set ranges from tested cases of COVID-19 per capita to school closures, ICU beds, and shelter-in-place policies. Below, you can see highlights from WalletHub’s report, along with a summary of the largest rank changes from their previous report and a Q&A with WalletHub analysts.

These findings revealed that North Carolina ranks #40, reflecting a relatively weak response.

Source: WalletHub
States with Most Aggressive Measures States with Least Aggressive Measures
1. California 42. Missouri
2. Rhode Island 43. South Dakota
3. Maryland 44. Nebraska
4. New Hampshire 45. Montana
5. New Jersey 46. Oklahoma
6. Connecticut 47. Arkansas
7. New York 48. Idaho
8. Maine 49. Tennessee
9. Colorado 50. Nevada
10. Louisiana 51. Mississippi

Note: Rankings reflect data available as of 2 p.m. ET on March 23, 2020.

Biggest Changes in Rank from the Previous Report
  • Hawaii moved from rank 45 to rank 11, up 34 positions. One reason is that the state has increased its number of tests administered per 100,000 residents by 400 times, from 0.49 to 211.74.
  • Colorado moved from rank 35 to rank 9, up 26 positions. This is due in part to the fact that the state has increased prevention measures and announced statewide closures of schools, bars and restaurants.
  • Maine moved from rank 33 to rank 8, up 25 positions. Maine has improved its aggressiveness against coronavirus by banning gatherings of 10 participants or more as well as closing restaurants and bars, among other measures.

To view the full report and your state or the District’s rank, please visit:

Q&A with WalletHub

Why is California the most aggressive state against the coronavirus?

“Some of the key reasons why California is the most aggressive state against the coronavirus include the closure of schools, bars and restaurants in the state, as well as the statewide shelter-in-place order currently in effect. California is also one of the states now requiring early prescription refills,” said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez.

Why is Mississippi the least aggressive state against the coronavirus?

“The state-level measures that Mississippi has taken during the coronavirus pandemic have been relatively small. For example, the state has not closed bars or restaurants, while many other states have. Plus, Mississippi lags behind other states in COVID-19 tests administered per capita,” said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez.

What are some of the most aggressive measures states have taken in response to the pandemic?

“One of the most aggressive actions that states have taken thus far is to institute mandatory stay-home and shelter-in-place orders for all residents, along with nightly curfews,” said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez. “Another drastic measure has been to ban all public gatherings.”

Is the federal government doing enough for the economy?

“The government is off-base in attempting to address the economic carnage emanating from the coronavirus pandemic with the traditional tools of a recession or even a depression. Instead, the government should do whatever it takes to create a federal payment holiday for April at the least. That means all bills due for both businesses and consumers – whether it’s a mortgage payment, a rent payment, utility payment, or any other kind of bill – should be erased,” said Odysseas Papadimitriou, CEO of the finance website WalletHub. “If you combine a true payment holiday with direct relief sent to consumers to ensure the affordability of daily necessities, such as food and medicine, the situation becomes more manageable. It would also cost just a fraction as much as trying to fully replace people’s full paychecks. And, most importantly, it would not create an additional barrier to resuming normal economic life, since there would be no major bills waiting for people and businesses on the other side.”

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