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Harvard Map: Why 2 New England States Have Lowest COVID Risk Levels

According to the Pandemics Explained map, pulling data from the World Health Organization and other sources, Vermont and Maine are the two states with the lowest COVID risk levels. (Mariamichelle/Pixabay)
According to the Pandemics Explained map, pulling data from the World Health Organization and other sources, Vermont and Maine are the two states with the lowest COVID risk levels. (Mariamichelle/Pixabay)
August 6, 2020

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- New England states Vermont and Maine have the lowest COVID-19 risk levels, according to new analysis from Harvard University.

The Harvard Global Health Institute and others, including Microsoft AI for Health, are tracking daily coronavirus cases across the country on an interactive map, where most states' case numbers are rising.

Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, Dr. Ashish Jha, said Maine and Vermont frequently rank as the safest COVID states.

"The people are going to be tempted to say, 'Well, they're a small state, they don't have a lot of people,'" Jha cautioned. "But let me tell you, there are a lot of small states that are also spread out, that have many, many, many more cases per capita than Maine does."

Jha mentioned Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming all have significantly higher numbers of COVID cases per capita. But he warned Maine and Vermont must continue to be cautious if they want to remain in that "safe" zone.

Jha credited the small number of coronavirus cases in these states to each governor's vigilant approach.

"It's very clear that the governor has taken it seriously and it's paid off," Jha said. "Those numbers begin to really look like the best European countries."

Right now, both states have 1.5 daily new cases or fewer per 100,000 people. Vermont Gov. Phil Scott announced a state of emergency on March 13. And Maine Gov. Janet Mills declared a civil state of emergency on March 15, within three days of the state's first recorded case of COVID-19.

Laura Rosbrow-Telem, Public News Service - MA