Half a Million People

February 23, 2021 8:45 a.m.

Yesterday the United States passed the threshold of 500,000 fatalities from COVID19, right about one year after we started this. You’ve seen the number in many places. I wanted to be sure you saw it here too. This chart illustrates the per capita death toll by state. Unsurprisingly New York and New Jersey still lead the country. New Jersey is actually first at 258 fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants. New York comes in at 239.

If you’re familiar with the geography this makes sense. New York’s epidemic was focused on New York City and the Greater New York City Region. And a greater percentage of New Jersey is in that region than is the case with New York state. Other nearby states are close – Connecticut (212), Massachusetts (230) and Rhode Island (233).

But outside the Northeast the next state is probably not one you’d think of: Mississippi. I struggle to think of a single national news story I’ve seen about the COVID pandemic specifically in Mississippi, where 220 people have died for every 100,000 inhabitants. That’s ahead of South Dakota at 211 and Arizona at 213 and neighboring Louisiana at 204. Those are all the states which have seen more than 200 inhabitants per 100,000 die of COVID in the last year.

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