Report: Maryland Among Best States for 2020 Pandemic Response, But U.S. Ranked Low Globally

    Maryland’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 was among the best in the nation, according to a new report from University of California Berkeley’s Othering & Belonging Institute.

    Based on rates of infection, death and testing, Maryland ranked 9th out of 50 states in its 2020 pandemic response, according to the Berkeley analysis. Vermont, Alaska and Maine topped the list in terms of their pandemic response.

    The lowest-ranking states included South Dakota, Iowa and Mississippi. State governments “which were more aggressive in issuing mask, shelter-in-place, and physical distancing rules fared better than the ones which did not,” according to a press release on the study.

    While Maryland ranked near the top of the nation in terms of its COVID-19 response, the United States ranked among the worst nations in terms of handling the pandemic globally. The U.S. ranked at 162 out of 172 countries included in the analysis, just above small European countries like Liechtenstein.

    The United Arab Emirates, Denmark and Iceland had the best response to the pandemic worldwide, the analysis reads. The Berkeley report notes that former President Donald Trump downplayed the pandemic even as cases began to soar across the country last year.

    Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) blasted the federal government’s COVID response last year, and likewise charged that Trump was “downplaying” the virus.

    “All of the leaders in the administration, the experts and the public health doctors at the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), they were aware and providing this information,” Hogan said in an interview with the Associated Press. “And yet it seemed as if the president was downplaying it and saying, you know, this virus is going to disappear.”

    Hogan issued a flurry of executive orders in response to the pandemic, including mandating masks and social distancing. But some aspects of Hogan’s response to the virus in 2020 were met with criticism, particularly around problems with the first batch COVID-19 test kits that the state purchased from a South Korean firm early on in the pandemic.

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    Bennett Leckrone
    Leckrone is a December 2019 graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. He has interned at The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Columbus Dispatch,, The Dayton Daily News and The Troy Daily News. Leckrone is a Report for America corps member.