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How many preventable COVID deaths happened in your state? This map will tell you

A new interactive dashboard from Brown University quantifies a depressing failure of public policy, messaging, logistics, and individual behavior.

How many preventable COVID deaths happened in your state? This map will tell you

As the United States passes the somber milestone of 1 million deaths from COVID-19, a new analysis and interactive dashboard visualizes how many of those deaths didn’t have to happen.

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The analysis, led by researchers at the Brown School of Public Health, looks at total deaths from the virus in each state and then calculates how much lower the figures would be had the pace of vaccination not slowed down from its peak. The interactive tools imagine three different scenarios—vaccination coverage at 85%, 90%, or 100%.

In New York, for instance, with 100% vaccination coverage, more than 11,000 deaths would have been prevented, the data shows, or about 726.1 deaths per 1 million adults. And New York was toward the lower range in terms of per-capita preventable deaths. The state with the highest was West Virginia, with 2,337.6 deaths per 1 million adults, followed by Wyoming, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Oklahoma. Massachusetts had the lowest, with 353.4 deaths per 1 million adults.

[Image: Brown School of Public Health]
No mater how you slice it, the data reveals a depressing failure of public policy, messaging, logistics, and individual behavior. Despite a head start in the country’s vaccine rollout—and the wealth of early studies that revealed how miraculously effective the vaccines were at reducing hospitalizations and deaths—vaccine coverage in the United States remains stubbornly lower that it could be, with only 66% of the population having received two doses, according to the New York Times.

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The new tool from Brown was done in collaboration with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Microsoft AI for Health. The calculations use real-world data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Times.

You can check out the dashboard and interactive map here.

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About the author

Christopher Zara is a senior news editor for Fast Company and obsessed with media, technology, business, culture, and theater. Before coming to FastCo News, he was a deputy editor at International Business Times, a theater critic for Newsweek, and managing editor of Show Business magazine

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