Comparative Analysis Grades Florida COVID Performance an ‘A’


A study comparing COVID outcomes in the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on the economy, education and mortality gave nine states – including Florida – an A grade for their efforts.

The study was published last week by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). The authors of the study are University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan, and Stephen Moore and Phil Kerpen of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity.

For economic performance the study used two measures: unemployment and GDP by state. Education performance was measured by the cumulative in-person instruction percentage for the complete 2020-2021 school year, with hybrid instruction weighted half. For mortality, the two measures were  COVID-associated deaths reported to the CDC and all-cause excess mortality.


The top 10 of the rankings was dominated by smaller states with the  exception of Florida, which ranked sixth.

Utah was ranked first in the analysis and was the only state with top 10 rankings in all three categories: economy (4), education (5) and mortality (8).

The study ranked Florida 28th in mortality, but Florida ranked third for the least education loss and 13th in economic performance. In contrast, California, which ranked 27th in mortality despite more stringent lockdowns, ranks 47th overall due to low ranking in economy (40th) and in-person school (50th).

The analysis shows that Florida did about average on mortality as other states, but it did far better in mitigating severe economic harm and minimizing the time children lost in schooling.

The bottom 10 were led by New Jersey, D.C., New York, New Mexico, and California.

These states “had high age-adjusted death rates; they had high unemployment and significant GDP losses, and they kept their schools shut down much longer than almost all other states,” the report added.

New York, whose former Governor Andrew Cuomo was initially given high marks for his handling of COVID, ranked 49th. The state’s economic shutdown (48th) had no payoff in mortality (47th). New Jersey ranks last with a low performance rankings in all three categories.

“The correlation between health and economy scores is essentially zero,” say the authors, “which suggests that states that withdrew the most from economic activity did not significantly improve health by doing so.”

After reviewing the study, The Wall Street Journal concluded, “The severe lockdown states suffered much more on overall social well-being in return for relatively little comparative benefit on health.”

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Steve Stewart is a senior contributor at The Florida Capital Star. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Ron DeSantis” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. Background Photo “Miami, Florida” by tsreptilien.

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