**FILE** D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (Wikimedia Commons)
**FILE** D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (Wikimedia Commons)

As the nation continues efforts to keep the ongoing pandemic at bay and prepare for the health challenges associated with the winter season, staying safe remains a paramount concern.

Now, with holiday season travel in full swing, some states have proven safer than others and a new report reveals that the District of Columbia counts as the safest place in the nation.

Researchers at the personal finance website WalletHub compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia across five key metrics: rates of COVID-19 transmission; positive testing; hospitalizations; deaths; and the share of the eligible population receiving vaccinations.

With an overall score of 91.30, D.C. outdistanced Connecticut (86.64), Rhode Island (86.53), Florida (85.90) and Massachusetts (85.43).

Vermont (82.17), California (81.17), Maryland (78.88), New York (78.86) and Hawaii (77.96) rounded out the top 10.

Virginia finished 19th with a 67.14 overall score while Wyoming (18.56) claimed the spot of least safe.

The District of Columbia also enjoys the lowest positive test rate while Pennsylvania has the highest rate of vaccinations.

Hospitalizations were lowest in Hawaii, Mississippi, North Carolina, Louisiana and Alabama. Conversely, New Mexico, Colorado, South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana had the highest hospitalization rates, researchers found.

D.C., Florida, Kansas, Mississippi and Oklahoma registered the lowest death rates, while West Virginia, Idaho, Montana, Kentucky and Wyoming reported the highest death rates.

Politically speaking, the average rank of Blue States proved far better than Red States.

“Everyone should continue to socially distance and wear masks as recommended by the CDC,” stated WalletHub expert David F. Merrick, the director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security Program at Florida State University’s College of Social Sciences and Public Policy.

“These simple measures will enable our communities to handle the back half of this pandemic as vaccines roll out,” Merrick said.

When asked how the federal government can help states increase vaccination rates, Rupali J. Limaye said the feds could guide states as needed.

“States will determine how to distribute the vaccine but the federal government can help by guiding them as to how best to distribute it,” said Limaye, an associate scientist in the Department of Health, Epidemiology, and Health, Behavior and Society at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

“People must continue to stay home if they can, social distance and wear a mask,” Limaye continued.

“The vaccine rollout will take some time but once a person is eligible, they should get the vaccine. The vaccine is not only effective but has been tested rigorously for safety. All these things together will help protect communities and lead to state recoveries,” he said.

Click here to view the entire survey.

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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