Red states that avoided or minimalized COVID-19 lockdown measures are leading the country in economic recovery, with some states outperforming their pre-COVID-19 numbers.
According to the Back-to-Normal Index created by CNN Business and Moody’s Analytics, South Dakota, Florida, and Nebraska are performing at 106%, 101%, and 100% of their pre-COVID-19 numbers, respectively. The United States on average is performing significantly worse than pre-COVID-19 numbers, with recovery only at 91%.
A statewide lockdown was never put in place in South Dakota, and both Florida and Nebraska were among the first states to remove their lockdowns. Of the three states, South Dakota is the only one with a higher per capita COVID-19 death rate.
In comparison, the three states with the highest death rate for COVID-19 are New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts, all states that voted for Biden in 2020. The three states are performing below the United States average, with performance at 90%, 79%, and 84%, respectively.
While blue states have managed to inversely correlate their death rates with their economic recovery, Republicans have pointed out the uselessness of lockdowns to combat overall mortality.
“We will never do any of these lockdowns again, and I hear people say they’ll shut down the country, and honestly, I cringe,” Republican Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis in August. “And at best, what the lockdown will do is delay. It does not reduce the ultimate mortality… it creates a lot of other problems with mortality that a lot of people don’t necessarily focus on.”
Republican Governor of South Dakota Kristi Noem made similar statements in late 2020, saying, “As you all might imagine, these last seven months have been quite lonely at times. But earlier this week, one very prominent national reporter sent me a note that said, ‘Governor, if you hadn’t stood against lockdowns, we’d have no proof of just how useless they really have been.’”