Mapping America’s hospitalization and vaccination divide

Stark differences across the country revealed

High vaccination,

low hospitalizations

High vaccination,

high hospitalizations

Share of

population

fully

vaccinated

Low vaccination,

high hospitalizations

60%

50

40

0

8

12

16

Admitted covid-19

patients per

100 hospital beds

Bend, Ore., area

56 percent vaccinated

29 patients per 100 beds

Wash.

N.D.

Mont.

Ore.

Idaho

S.D.

Wyo.

Neb.

Nev.

Calif.

Utah

Colo.

Kan.

Ariz.

N.M.

Bakersfield, Calif., area has the highest hospitalization rate outside of the South: 31 patients per 100 beds. .

Tex.

Alaska

Hawaii

Madison, Wisc., area

62 percent vaccinated

6 patients per 100 beds.

N.D.

Mont.

Minn.

Wisc.

S.D.

Wyo.

Iowa

Neb.

Ohio

Ill.

Ind.

Colo.

Kan.

Mo.

Ky.

Tenn.

Okla.

Ark.

N.M.

Ala.

Miss.

Tex.

La.

Waco, Tex., area

39 percent vaccinated

37 patients per 100 beds

No data available

Albany, N.Y., area

61 percent vaccinated

7 patients per 100 beds

Maine

Minn.

Vt.

N.H.

N.Y.

Mass.

Wisc.

Conn.

Mich.

R.I.

Pa.

Iowa

N.J.

Ohio

Del.

Ill.

Ind.

D.C.

W.V.

Md.

Va.

Mo.

Ky.

N.C.

Tenn.

Ark.

Spartanburg, S.C., area has the highest hospitalization rate in the country: 38 patients per 100 beds.

S.C.

Ga.

Ala.

Miss.

La.

Fla.

Fort Myers, Fla., area

56 percent vaccinated

21 patients per 100 beds

High vaccination,

low hospitalizations

High vaccination,

high hospitalizations

Share of

population

fully vaccinated

60%

Low vaccination,

high hospitalizations

50

40

0

8

12

16

Admitted covid-19 patients per

100 hospital beds

Bend, Ore., area

56 percent vaccinated

29 patients per 100 beds

Wash.

Mont.

Ore.

Idaho

Wyo.

Nev.

Calif.

Utah

Colo.

Ariz.

N.M.

Bakersfield, Calif., area has the highest hospitalization rate outside of the South: 31 patients per 100 beds.

Tex.

Alaska

Hawaii

Madison, Wisc., area

62 percent vaccinated

6 patients per 100 beds

N.D.

Mont.

Minn.

Wisc.

S.D.

Mich.

Wyo.

Iowa

Neb.

Ill.

Ind.

Colo.

Kan.

Mo.

Ky.

Tenn.

Okla.

Ark.

N.M.

Miss.

Tex.

La.

Waco, Tex., area

39 percent vaccinated

37 patients per 100 beds

No data available

Albany, N.Y., area

61 percent vaccinated

7 patients per 100 beds

Maine

Vt.

N.H.

Mass.

Wisc.

N.Y.

R.I.

Mich.

Conn.

Pa.

N.J.

Ohio

Md.

Ill.

Del.

Ind.

D.C.

W.V.

Va.

Mo.

Ky.

N.C.

Tenn.

S.C.

Ark.

Spartanburg, S.C., area has the highest hospitalization rate in the country: 38 patients per 100 beds.

Ga.

Ala.

Miss.

La.

Fla.

Fort Myers, Fla., area

56 percent vaccinated

21 patients per 100 beds

High vaccination,

low hospitalizations

High vaccination,

high hospitalizations

Low vaccination,

high hospitalizations

60%

Share of

population

fully vaccinated

50

Bend, Ore., area

56 percent vaccinated

29 patients per 100 beds

40

0

8

12

16

Admitted covid-19 patients

per 100 hospital beds

No data available

Albany, N.Y., area

61 percent vaccinated

6.9 patients per 100 beds

Wash.

N.D.

Mont.

Maine

Minn.

Vt.

Ore.

N.H.

Idaho

Mass.

S.D.

Wisc.

N.Y.

Conn.

Mich.

Wyo.

R.I.

Pa.

Iowa

N.J.

Neb.

Nev.

Ohio

Del.

Ill.

Calif.

Utah

D.C.

Ind.

Md.

W.V.

Colo.

Va.

Kan.

Mo.

Ky.

N.C.

Tenn.

Ariz.

Okla.

N.M.

Ark.

S.C.

Ga.

Ala.

Miss.

Tex.

La.

Fla.

Waco, Tex., area

39 percent vaccinated

37 patients per 100 beds

Alaska

Hawaii

High vaccination,

low hospitalizations

High vaccination,

high hospitalizations

Share of

population

fully vaccinated

60%

Low vaccination,

high hospitalizations

50

40

Bend, Ore., area

56 percent vaccinated

29 patients per 100 beds

0

8

12

16

Admitted covid-19 patients per 100 hospital beds

No data available

Albany, N.Y., area

61 percent vaccinated

7 patients per 100 beds

Wash.

N.D.

Mont.

Maine

Minn.

Vt.

Ore.

N.H.

Idaho

Wisc.

Mass.

S.D.

N.Y.

Conn.

Mich.

Wyo.

R.I.

Pa.

Iowa

N.J.

Neb.

Nev.

Ohio

Del.

Ill.

Ind.

Calif.

Utah

D.C.

Md.

W.V.

Colo.

Va.

Kan.

Mo.

Ky.

N.C.

Tenn.

Ariz.

Okla.

Ark.

Spartanburg, S.C., area has the highest hospitalization rate in the country: 38 patients per 100 beds.

N.M.

S.C.

Bakersfield, Calif., area has the highest hospitalization rate outside of the South: 31 patients per 100 beds.

Ga.

Ala.

Miss.

Tex.

La.

Fla.

Waco, Tex., area

39 percent vaccinated

37 patients per 100 beds

Alaska

Hawaii

Comment

The delta covid wave carves a dividing line across the country defined by one rule: Regions with more vaccinations have fewer hospitalizations.

The map above shows places in green where most of the people are fully vaccinated and very few hospital beds are occupied by covid patients.

In purple, the map shows communities where fewer people are vaccinated and hospitals have as many as 10 times the covid patients as those in the high-vaccination areas.

U.S. coronavirus cases and state maps

Each shaded area on the map covers all the patients and all the beds in that region, which includes small hospitals and the nearby major medical centers where the sickest patients are treated.

The green regions in and around Boston; New Haven, Conn.; the Bronx in New York City; Philadelphia; Chicago; El Paso; Dubuque, Iowa; and Newark have only 3 percent to 6 percent of their hospital beds holding covid patients.

Dark purple marks the alternative places like South Carolina’s Florence, Greenville and Spartanburg, where 25 percent to 38 percent of hospital patients have covid.

In general, the rates of vaccination in each region are the inverse of hospitalization rates. In less hospitalized green zones, 50 percent of the population or more are fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, the least vaccinated purple area sits at only 21 percent. In the counties in South Carolina where hospitals have been hit hard, vaccination rates are between 35 and 42 percent.

Coronavirus vaccine tracker: Doses, people vaccinated by state

More than a third of the country is in the high-hospitalization/low vaccination category and shaded bright purple. Another third of the country is low-hospitalization/high-vaccination green. The remainder hovers in the middle, with medium levels of covid hospitalization and vaccination rates a bit above or below the national average.

Distribution of vaccination and

hospitalization rates

Most hospital regions with high vaccination rates have lower hospitalization rates — and places with lower vaccination rates tend to see higher rates of admitted patients.

80%

High vaccination,

low hospitalizations

Share of

population

fully

vaccinated

Miami, Fla., area

60

Bend, Ore., area

Lawton, Okla.,

area

50

40

30

Low vaccination,

high hospitalizations

20

0

8

12

16

40

Admitted covid-19 patients

per 100 hospital beds

Distribution of vaccination and

hospitalization rates

Most hospital regions with high vaccination rates have lower hospitalization rates — and places with lower vaccination rates tend to see higher rates of admitted patients.

80%

High vaccination,

low hospitalizations

High vaccination,

high hospitalizations

Share of

population

fully

vaccinated

Miami, Fla., area

Bend, Ore., area

60

Lawton, Okla.,

area

50

40

30

Low vaccination,

low hospitalizations

Low vaccination,

high hospitalizations

20

0

8

12

16

40

Admitted covid-19 patients

per 100 hospital beds

Distribution of vaccination and hospitalization rates

Most hospital regions with high vaccination rates have lower hospitalization rates — and places with lower vaccination rates tend to see higher rates of admitted patients.

80%

Share of

population

fully

vaccinated

High vaccination,

low hospitalizations

High vaccination,

high hospitalizations

Miami, Fla., area

60

Bend, Ore., area

50

Lawton, Okla.,

area

40

Texarkana,

Ark./Tex., area

30

Low vaccination,

low hospitalizations

Low vaccination,

high hospitalizations

20

0

8

12

16

40

Admitted covid-19 patients

per 100 hospital beds

The chart above plots every hospital region on the scale combining vaccination and hospitalization. Each dot falls in the color zone that is used to portray that region in the map above.

The dots higher on the left in the shades of green have higher vaccination rates and lower numbers of covid patients in hospitals. The bottom right shades of purple have the places with less vaccination and more covid patients. There are no regions in the upper right corner with very high vaccination and also very high hospitalization. And, similarly, only two regions — in Kansas and part of Louisiana — fall in the lower left corner with low vaccination and also few patients.

Where hospitals are stressed

Admitted covid-19 patients

per 100 hospital beds

0

8

12

16

Admitted covid-19 patients per 100 hospital beds

0

8

12

16

Admitted covid-19 patients per 100 hospital beds

0

8

12

16

Wash.

Maine

N.D.

Mont.

Minn.

Vt.

Ore.

N.H.

Idaho

Wisc.

Mass.

N.Y.

S.D.

Conn.

Mich.

Wyo.

R.I.

Pa.

Iowa

N.J.

Neb.

Nev.

Ohio

Del.

Ill.

Calif.

Utah

D.C.

Ind.

Md.

W.V.

Colo.

Va.

Kan.

Mo.

Ky.

N.C.

Tenn.

Ariz.

Okla.

S.C.

Ark.

N.M.

Ga.

Ala.

Miss.

Tex.

La.

Fla.

Alaska

Hawaii

Even many of the high-vaccination regions are classified as covid hot spots by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention because of steady community transmission of the highly contagious delta variant. But despite the prevalence of the virus, hospitalization remains low in those well-vaccinated communities.

Unvaccinated people are 10 times more likely to be hospitalized than fully vaccinated people, according to the latest CDC studies reviewing patients during the delta wave, which has triggered another surge in deaths.

Hospitals overwhelmed by covid are turning to ‘crisis standards of care.’ What does that mean?

Where a majority of the population is vaccinated

Share of population fully vaccinated

0

40

50

60%

Share of population fully vaccinated

0

40

50

60%

Share of population fully vaccinated

0

40

50

60%

Wash.

Maine

N.D.

Mont.

Minn.

Vt.

Ore.

N.H.

Idaho

Wisc.

Mass.

S.D.

N.Y.

Conn.

Mich.

Wyo.

R.I.

Pa.

Iowa

N.J.

Neb.

Nev.

Ohio

Del.

Ill.

Ind.

Calif.

Utah

D.C.

Md.

W.V.

Colo.

Va.

Kan.

Mo.

Ky.

N.C.

Tenn.

Ariz.

Okla.

Ark.

N.M.

S.C.

Ga.

Ala.

Miss.

Tex.

La.

Fla.

Alaska

Hawaii

Higher vaccination rates in the Northeast, the Upper Midwest and the California coast result in swaths of green with low shares of covid patients in hospitals. Rates of cases, hospitalizations and deaths have risen since the start of summer but remain much lower than those of areas where vaccination is less prevalent.

High vaccination has worked. None of the hospital regions with vaccination above 60 percent has the extreme level of hospitalization with at least 16 percent of beds holding covid patients.

About this story

Hospitalization rates are calculated from the latest Health and Human Services weekly data on covid utilization at every hospital registered with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Counts for beds and patients were aggregated from 5,007 individual hospitals up to Hospital Referral Regions as defined by the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care. Beds were included for hospitals that reported no covid patients.

The share of the population that is fully vaccinated is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s county-level data except for county data from Georgia, Texas and Virginia. Data as of September 21. The share of vaccination was aggregated from counties to health-care referral regions using the MABLE Geocorr engine at the Missouri Census Data Center.

Editing by Meghan Hoyer, Tim Meko and Lauren Tierney.

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