West Virginia is the Deadliest State for COVID-19; BA.5 Variant Will Soon Dominate

July 2, 2022

Mountaineer News

THE MOUNTAIN STATE - The death toll from COVID-19 continues to climb, though the rate has stabilized over the past six weeks (at a seven-day average of 300 to 325 daily deaths) according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some states are deadlier than others, however. Based on COVID-19-related deaths per capita, the deadliest state for COVID-19 right now is West Virginia.


Despite this encouraging trend, public health experts are concerned about a winter surge and new omicron subvariants, specifically BA.5, which now accounts for over 36% of cases and is expected to soon become dominant nationwide. BA.5 is different enough from earlier omicron versions that it is able to infect those who have already contracted an earlier version of omicron and lead to higher breakthrough infections among the vaccinated.


BA.5 is not only even more transmissible, but also presents with more symptoms and is able to resist treatments better than earlier omicron versions. (These are the countries where the most people have died from COVID-19.)


To find the deadliest state for COVID-19, we ranked states based on the average daily deaths over the most recent seven-day period per 100,000 people, using data from federal, state, and local sources as of June 30. Six states; Alaska, Iowa, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wyoming were excluded due to insufficient data.


West Virginia, with a 95% increase in average new daily deaths over the past 14 days, jumped in ranking from the No. 7 to the No. 1 spot. The state reported an average of 5.6 daily deaths over the past seven days, or 0.3 daily deaths per 100,000 people, the most of any state.


Other states with relatively high COVID-19 death rates over the past week include Florida, Oregon, New Mexico, and Massachusetts. Florida reported the highest seven-day average, at 53 daily deaths, or 0.25 daily deaths per 100,000 people. Deaths in Virginia, however, rose the most in the past 14 days, jumping 650% to an average of 13 daily deaths in the past seven days, or 0.15 per 100,000 people.


Kansas remained the least deadly state for COVID-19, with deaths continuing to decline in the state, by 33% over the past two weeks. The state reported an average of 0.3 daily deaths in the past seven days, or 0.01 deaths per 100,000 people; the fewest. (These are the states that had more deaths than births in 2021.)