10 States Where COVID-19 Threatens Seniors the Most

Senior hospitalized with COVID-19
sasirin pamai / Shutterstock.com

The coronavirus pandemic is a danger to everyone. Regardless of age or health, you can become very sick — and possibly even die.

However, the overwhelming percentage of fatalities attributed to COVID-19 involve older people.

While adults ages 65 and older account for 16% of the U.S. population, they make up 80% of deaths tied to COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

The percentage of victims who are 65 or older differs from state to state, however. The foundation recently dug into the numbers.

Using provisional statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of July 22 — which are for the week ending July 11 — the Kaiser Family Foundation concluded that seniors account for the largest share of COVID-19 deaths in the following states:

  • Idaho: People age 65 and older account for 94% of COVID-19 deaths
  • New Hampshire: 92%
  • Massachusetts: 90%
  • West Virginia: 90%
  • Rhode Island: 90%
  • Minnesota: 89%
  • Connecticut: 89%
  • Pennsylvania: 87%
  • Indiana: 86%
  • Ohio: 86%

On the other hand, those who are 65 or older account for the smallest percentage of the COVID-19 fatalities in the following areas:

  • The District of Columbia: 70%
  • Texas: 70%
  • New Mexico: 71%
  • Arkansas: 71%
  • Mississippi: 74%
  • Nebraska: 74%
  • Arizona: 74%

Several states were excluded from the KFF analysis due to data discrepancies. Those states are Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont and Wyoming. You can see how the other 41 states and D.C. fare in Figure 1 of the Kaiser Family Foundation analysis.

One factor seems to tie together the states that have been especially dangerous for older residents. According to the foundation:

“States that have reported a larger share of adults 65 and older who have died of COVID-19 tend to be those states that have had a disproportionate number of deaths in long-term care facilities.”

As we reported in June, more than 40% of all coronavirus deaths in the U.S. have been linked to nursing homes.

States in the South and the Sun Belt largely have seen better outcomes for residents age 65 and older. However, the Kaiser Family Foundation notes that the pandemic is peaking later in these states than in others, and the numbers might eventually change.

Not surprisingly, the older you are, the greater the risk, wherever you live. The KFF says 33% of the people who have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. have been age 85 or older.

Regardless of your age or the state where you live, going to certain places and engaging in specific activities puts you at higher risk for infection with the coronavirus. For more, check out “Where You’re Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus, According to Doctors.”

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.