A new report that ranks each state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed GOP-led states, including Florida, among the top performers, with Democrat-led states dominating the bottom of the list.
The Committee To Unleash Prosperity (CUP) has released the most comprehensive analysis to date on how states handled the COVID-19 crisis. These results have also been published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
“The Report Card on the States measures and compares state performance on three metrics: the economy, education, and mortality from the virus. It answers the question: how did states do in balancing the health of their citizens, allowing their economies to remain operational and keeping job losses low, and keeping their schools open so that school-aged children did not suffer long term educational setbacks,” the committee said in a statement provided to The Daily Wire.
“Each of these three metrics were equally weighted. The states that received an F grade were New Jersey, New York, California, Illinois and Washington, D.C. These states performed poorly on every measure. They had high age-adjusted death rates; they had high unemployment and significant GDP losses, and they kept their schools shutdown much longer than almost all other states,” it added. “The top performers were Utah, Nebraska, and Vermont with Montana and Florida right behind.”
A total of 18 states received a grade of A or B. Of the top-ranking 18 states, 16 are led by Republican governors. No Democrat-led states appeared in the top five.
The “biggest mistake” observed in the study was the long-term closing of businesses and schools.
“Shutting down their economies and schools was by far the biggest mistake governors and state officials made during Covid, particularly in blue states,” said CUP Co-Founder Stephen Moore. “We hope the results of this study will persuade governors not to close schools and businesses the next time we have a new virus variant.”
States with locked down economies averaged about two points higher in unemployment than states that did not engage in more severe lockdowns, according to the study.
Despite the emphasis on Florida’s openness versus California’s restrictions, the study showed that the adjusted death rates in the two states from COVID-19 were nearly the same.
The study also offered an important insight regarding states’ rights from the study, noting “one of the wisest policy decisions was to ultimately let the 50 states and their governors and legislators make their own pandemic response policies. Federalism worked.”
A concerning takeaway from the study regarded the relationship between unemployment and social problems. For example, for each one percentage point increase in the unemployment rate, there were 920 more suicides and 650 more homicides. Increases in mental health concerns, domestic violence, and homelessness were also associated with increased unemployment rates.
The full report is available online from the CUP.