Study shows Utah handled the COVID pandemic the best

A newly released study shows that the state of Utah had the best overall COVID policies in the United States.

Utah had a comparatively low mortality rate during the pandemic and was better than other states at maintaining economic activity and not destroying kids’ futures.

There is an old saying from the Vietnam War: “we had destroy the village in order to save it.” Now, it turns out that quotation may be false, but any case it came to symbolize the failure of the Vietnam War. During the pandemic, the equivalent may have been: “we had to close the economy, imprison the people and kill the kids in order to save a few older people.” Because unfortunately this was the policy for most states, and that policy did not work in most cases because older people still died.

But the good news is that states like Utah avoided the worst policies during the pandemic, according to this study. Here are the results from the top states:

The top 10 states in order are: Utah, Nebraska, Vermont, Montana, South Dakota, Florida, New Hampshire, Maine, Arkansas and Idaho.

And here are the worst states:

The worst states are NJ, DC, NY, NM, CA and Illinois

If there is any trend that we can note, it is that the best states promoted personal freedom the most, whereas the worst states had the most tyrannical lockdowns. In addition, many of the best states (except Florida) were relatively sparsely populated and many of the worst states are more crowded, with the obvious exception of New Mexico.

Here is the summary from the study:

During the pandemic there were many commenters on this blog calling for more complete lockdowns like we are seeing today in China. It should hopefully be obvious now that these horrific policies kill many more people than they save, while completely destroying freedom. If only somebody in the LDS world had warned us that lockdowns would not work. Oh yes, somebody did.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

10 thoughts on “Study shows Utah handled the COVID pandemic the best

  1. Thanks for shedding light on this. Sadly, I do know businesses in Utah that didn’t survive the initial lockdown. My fear is that we are not out of the woods yet with regards to government overreach and haven’t learned our lessons. Just this week Philadelphia re-instated their mask mandate. What will be the default mode when the flu season comes again?

  2. I don’t even think it was about saving old people — it was about controlling people and seeing how far they could push people. In my community it’s people in their 30s-40s that were, and continue to be the most spooked out about Covid. A member of my ward even called me to tell me the fact that because I was not wearing a mask at church was the reason why they wouldn’t come back to church. Um, no, I do not accept that. Now that masks are optional this family still has not returned.

    As far as our wards and branches go. I know people are struggling church wide to get back into the habit of in-person church attendance. Our ward has 4-5 families that got into some anti-church/Mormon stuff & have now all decided the church is no longer true, and they’re not interested in attending or participating in our ward. And because New Mexico was the third worst state (behind CA & NY), we’re having a “brain drain” of sorts in our ward and community. People are leaving to more freedom friendly places like Utah and Arizona. For those of us who are staying, we’re putting Humpty Dumpty back together again, but it’s a real bad patch job.

    I’ve mentioned this before, my husband has a vaccine injury. We’ve been to multiple doctors and found out that he has a heart condition which was made worse by the vaccine and also, he’s actually allergic to these vaccines. The cardiologist and the allergy doc figured this out and both were willing to write letters giving him a medical exemption. I have a thick folder of medical records and notes, just in case he died, and I needed to sue someone for wrongful death. I don’t like that I have this kind of a file folder on my desk.

    There has been so much damage from bad Covid policy: the erosion of our freedoms, broken trust with the medical and scientific communities, a distrust of legitimate vaccines (eg: measles, polio, such that we will see waves of these diseases in the future), the fracturing of societies/communities, kids struggling in school & having to learn how to interact face to face again…and the list goes on.

    In the end, everyone will get Covid — so what was this all for?

  3. Utah is the youngest state in the nation, it should have had the lowest death rate (for this particular disease) regardless of what it did. But in addition to the successes you (correctly) note it also had some very corrupt wasting of government money (no bid sweetheart contracts to incompetent providers), and foisted “TestUtah” onto several other states (TestUtah was a private effort to do COVID testing and tracing that ended up getting in trouble with the Feds because the labs it set up didn’t actual do what was promised, and often provided inaccurate results, and allowed samples to be cross contaminated). So Utah’s case is a bit of a mixed bag due to all the corruption involved. See: and

  4. Anne, I am hoping we have learned our lessons from the pandemic, but society these days never fails to disappoint, so it is of course possible we could be heading into new lockdowns. Maintaining liberty means constant vigilance.

    Joyce, I was so sorry (but not surprised) to see that NM was one of the worst states. In Colorado, policies really varied from county to county. If you lived in Aspen, or Boulder or downtown Denver, it was all failed blue state policies, but many of the more rural counties were relatively free. But it appears that NM was bad for the entire state.

    JSH, I am not surprised there was corruption and plenty of failed policies in Utah, but it could have been so much worse…..

  5. Joyce, I’m sorry to hear of the loss of any member of the Church. All losses are to be mourned. But I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t part of the Lord’s plan to separate the wheat from the chaff? In reading “History of the Church” in the Prophet Joseph’s own words, he is constantly beset with trials of members for one transgression or another and it is beautiful to read how often the Lord forgives when the one on trial sincerely repents of his wrongdoing. Christ forgives over and over again with true repentance. Therefore, stay strong, pray often for their return.

  6. Hans, I do think the situation in my ward is a wheat/chaff situation as you said. We all have to choose to stay on the covenant path or not. These people self-selected to step off. And while I do not miss the contention they brought to church meetings, it’s sad to see your friends lose their testimonies and their faith decline. It’s heartbreaking to know too, that they’re also choosing this path for their children as well. It’s really hard to stay active in the church when your parents are not, your other siblings are not. This affects generations down the line. Some of them are still willing to have non-Sunday callings and to let their kids come to mutual and activity days, so that’s good, but it will take a very delicate hand going forward to try and minister to them, as much as they will accept the efforts of others.

    Geoff, New Mexico has been run by the Democrat part for 80+ years. In many ways it’s like a big state wide crime family, you do what the guy above you in the pecking order says to do. The GOP leadership is very week as well, and there are some factions within the GOP, that I think will allow the Dems to win elections here in November, while getting their butts (rightfully) kicked in other states. I was fairly active in my local GOP a few years ago, but I wasn’t Trump enough for some, so they made things difficult for me. I don’t need politics to survive and be happy, so I left. I really hope that Trump does not run in 2024, but I’m sure he will. And New Mexico will continue on the path its been on for the next 80 years.

  7. I visited Utah throughout the pandemic. Of all places I visited, none better retained normalcy than Washington county / St. George. It was not just the people choosing to make independent, intelligent decisions, rather than grovel in the conformity of fear. I applaud the civic leaders and especially the leadership of Dixie State for staying sane.

    In spring 2021 I was at a park in St George and watched as hundreds of kids joyfully played together. Jesus said, “by their fruits ye shall know them.” The fruit of normalcy was very good and I took that lesson with me, convinced without a shadow of doubt that Covid fear mongering was an evil that had to be opposed.

    The contrast between localities that have embraced normalcy (or never left it) and those that practice the cult of Covid is amazing to see. We are one nation absolutely fractured by vain imaginations that have splintered our society. And why? Because too many leaders of our governments, churches, corporations and other institutions have acted in fear rather than faith. Without good leaders, the people do stumble and even two years on many are lost, unable to act for themselves because they have been terrorized by lies.

  8. @JSH, If I understand the term correctly, “Health-adjusted COVID deaths per 100K” should/would also include age adjustments, since age is inherently and statistically inversely proportional to health outcomes (aside from “infant mortality.”)

  9. Why is Utah so high on this list? I note that only Florida has larger cities of any of the top states. Rural states from the northeast, Midwest and west are the others.
    I think back to fall of 2020 and there were news articles about Utah parents keeping their sick kids home from school, but not getting them tested for Covid so that the schools would remain open. This type of behavior probably increased the score on this metric. Being a close neighbor to totally insane California also probably helped. The mobile people just left CA and moved to better places. This is probably a contributor to the northeast states and Florida being high up also.

  10. By and large the people of Utah handled the pandemic admirably. Where they’re was discord in Utah, it was generally over following the prophet in practicing the outward ordinances of the CDC or following their courage and their heart.

    Some still harbor bitterness about the disconnect, but most see it as a minor submission where appropriate and then getting on with life as usual.

    One minor sad aspect is those who do enthusiastically not only followed the Brethren b but went beyond their words were revealed as dupes and they don’t even know it yet.

    We all realize there was no winning against the CDC. The Supreme Court let’s mask mandates stand without consideration or comment. The church would be stripped of its influence and power if we did not comply.

    But all that said, at the upper levels we did and still seem to support the (to me) false ideas that the right thing to do is socially distance and mask.

    I understand and will follow the doctrine of submission. But of repeating falsehoods, I can’t do.

    Yes, if you’re sick enough that you struggle to get out of bed, stay home. But there’s no truth to this idea that someone with the sniffles, a cough, or a fever ought to be ostracized and isolated if they don’t desire it.

    Our immune systems weren’t designed in a vacuum. The whole idea of this virus being “novel” so we can’t defend against it, was clearly a lie.

    Note important to immune health then masks, isolation, and vaccines is a healthy immune system. Healthy diet, frequent exercise. Time in the sun. That is what we need more than shutdowns, stimulus, and shots.

    We ought to be very careful with the idea that frequently, artificially stimulating the immune system in an attempt to biohack its way into immunity will come without cost to individuals and society.

    We are not out of the water yet. There’s no chance that billions of shots designed to confer immunity that didn’t actually confer immunity will have no negative societal health consequences, especially as so many keep taking them.

    The next round of infections is possible to be worse and spread even farther as a result of the at best, quasi effective vaccine.

    Southern Utah did handle this best. All while being innundated with record numbers of tourists fleeing their blue states and bringing covid with their masked appearances in our grocery stores and restaurants. I welcome them all. If only they shared the courage and the faith of the people who’s lands they were visiting.

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