The 'healthiest communities' in the U.S. have had significantly lower coronavirus infections, report shows

Los Alamos, New Mexico.
(Image credit: iStock.)

U.S. News & World Report and the Aetna Foundation are out with the annual ranking of the healthiest communities in the United States. Los Alamos County, New Mexico, topped the list followed by last year's winner Douglas County, Colorado (communities in Colorado held seven of the top 10 spots). But one of the more striking, if not entirely surprising, aspects of the rankings is the correlation they showed between community health and lower coronavirus infection rates.

Los Alamos County, Stat News points out, has had one of the 100 lowest infection rates in the U.S. since the COVID-19 pandemic began earlier this year. Additionally, the survey included 3,000 communities across the country, and the 500 that were deemed the healthiest have had an overall coronavirus case rate that was 40 percent lower than the other 2,500 communities.

There are likely other factors — perhaps adherence to social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines — that may have contributed to lower case numbers, since underlying health conditions are seemingly tied to the severity of COVID-19 infections, rather than making people more vulnerable to contracting the virus. But the study, which uses metrics like access to health care, food availability, and housing affordability, does strongly suggest there's a link between population health and smaller coronavirus outbreaks. See the full rankings at U.S. News and World Report and read more at Stat News.

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Tim O'Donnell

Tim is a staff writer at The Week and has contributed to Bedford and Bowery and The New York Transatlantic. He is a graduate of Occidental College and NYU's journalism school. Tim enjoys writing about baseball, Europe, and extinct megafauna. He lives in New York City.