These 5 States Have the Highest COVID Death Rates in the Country

COVID continues to spread in many parts of the U.S., but these are the states with the highest death rates.

Every week, we're seeing a new set of states dealing with a surge in coronavirus cases. All over the country, officials have instituted different ways to manage the outbreak, and as a result, the rise and fall of daily cases is unique from region to region. But COVID death rate is a different story. The states that have suffered the most coronavirus-related deaths since the pandemic started are none of the current hotspots. In fact, they've been the same for months.

The states with the highest fatality rates were among the first to see the lion's share of coronavirus cases, when medical experts were struggling to figure out how best to treat the deadly contagion. It is a novel coronavirus after all, with no similar predecessor. As time has passed, however, states that have seen later spikes in cases have benefited greatly from the medical advancements that've been discovered since the start of the pandemic. As a result, mortality rates will likely end up much lower in states seeing surges now as opposed to the earlier epicenters.

There have been nearly 167,000 deaths related to COVID-19 in the United States as of August 13. The following are the five states that have seen the highest rate of COVID deaths compared to their population size. And for more states in trouble right now, check out These 7 States Need to Lock Down Right Now, Harvard Researchers Say.

Rhode Island

Map of Rhode Island with a coronavirus warning tape
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Rhode Island has had roughly 20,100 cases of COVID-19, according to The New York Times, and has lost 1,108 people to the virus. But the state has since received plaudits for its effective handling of its early outbreak.

As of 2019, "Little Rhody" had a total population of 1,059,000. That means .0010 percent of all of its residents have succumbed to the virus, giving it the fifth-highest death rate in the nation. And for more on Rhode Island, check out This One State Isn't Reopening Because of Too Much "Summer Partying."


Map of Connecticut with a coronavirus warning tape
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Connecticut has ultimately turned its coronavirus outbreak around, but not before losing a huge number of its citizens to the virus. The New York Times reports that Connecticut has had about 51,000 cases of COVID-19 and 4,450 deaths. The Nutmeg State had a total population of 3,565,000 as of 2019, which means that .0012 percent of all of its inhabitants have been killed by COVID-19. For more on how the state overcame COVID, check out Dr. Fauci Says This One State Is "In a Good Place" With Coronavirus.


Map of Massachusetts with a coronavirus warning tape
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Massachusetts once had an awful COVID outbreak and then reined the situation in. But its COVID case numbers are once again worsening. The state's had 122,000 cases of COVID-19, according to The New York Times, and nearly 8,800 Massachusetts residents have died as a result. The state's total population was 6,893,000 as of 2019, so that means .0013 percent of its citizens have been killed by the coronavirus. However, considering Massachusetts' current situation, that number could rise again. And for more on that, check out These Are the Only 4 States Where COVID Cases Are Rising.

New York

Map of New York with a coronavirus warning tape
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The first and hottest of hotspots in the U.S. was New York State. According to The New York Times, the Empire State has had about 427,000 cases of COVID-19, resulting in nearly 32,400 deaths. New York's total population was 19,450,000 as of 2019, which means that .0017 percent of all New Yorkers have succumbed to the virus. Since the earliest days of the outbreak, however, New York has successfully "flattened the curve."

New Jersey

Map of New Jersey with a coronavirus warning tape
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Like New York, New Jersey was among the very first states to see a coronavirus outbreak, but the Garden State has since been lauded for its effective management of the virus' spread. The New York Times reports that New Jersey has had nearly 189,000 cases of COVID-19, and has lost almost 15,900 residents to the virus. With a total population of 8,882,000 as of the end of 2019, that means .0018 percent of New Jerseyans have been killed by COVID-19, giving the state the highest death rate in the nation. And for more ways to cut back on your risk of contracting COVID, check out 24 Things You're Doing Every Day That Put You at COVID Risk.