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Here's how the most- and least-vaccinated states fared against the delta variant

Emily Baumgaertner, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

All five governors have held firm, refusing to issue mandates even for health workers, even as the delta variant spread and hospitalizations and deaths accelerated.

When a reporter asked him about his masking policies in August, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves responded with ridicule: "If you really want to virtue signal, why are you in this room? Why don't you go to your house and lock yourself up?"

That same month, after nearly two dozen Mississippi hospitals ran out of ICU beds, one transformed a floor of a parking garage into a field hospital.

Since the end of April, the death rate in the red states rose to more than triple the death rate in the blue states.

As a result, the red states have now surpassed the blue states in deaths per 100,000 people over the course of the pandemic. As of Sept. 10, the respective totals were 230 and 224.

The blue states continue to exercise caution, as several have seen increases in cases, hospitalizations and deaths in recent weeks — though on each of those measures they remain in far better shape than the red states.


As children returned to school in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, masks were mandated. In Vermont, where school districts have been allowed to decide for themselves, nearly every one has opted to require masks.

Meanwhile in Idaho, where medical supplies are being rationed and hospitals are nearing capacity, the governor is exploring legal action against President Joe Biden's plan to require vaccine mandates at companies with more than 100 employees.

The Wyoming governor described the plan as "egregious."

At the same time, he is allocating $30 million in federal funding to address health care worker shortages and has said he may call upon the state's National Guard.


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