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Ohio ranks near bottom of safest states from COVID-19, Toledoans respond

A recent WalletHub survey places Ohio 47th out of the 50 states based on five key metrics.

As Ohio slowly climbs out of the Delta variant surge, a new study from WalletHub says the Buckeye State has been one of the worst at fighting COVID-19.

Using data collected from hospitals and health departments, WalletHub created five key data points to determine how states across the country are handling COVID-19: transmission, hospitalizations, deaths, positive testing, and vaccination rates.

With Ohio falling behind in all of the major categories, the state landed third from the bottom of the 50 states on the list.

"I want to say that my gut reaction is, I kind of don't believe it, but I'm going to have to believe the numbers," said Toledo resident Logan Hecklinger.

Bailey Crittenden, of Toledo, says Ohio’s spot on the list makes sense to her.

"I mean I’m not super surprised, I don't see a lot of people wearing masks," said Crittenden.

While COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are trending down in Ohio, overall numbers still reflect a state struggling to fight the pandemic.

RELATED: Study: Ohio is near bottom in list of safest states during COVID-19

For some, the data has them questioning the point of even trying.

"It makes me feel just a little bit helpless, in regards to, the entire thing, it also makes me care just a little bit less too, because it's like, we're doing everything we're told to do and we're still number 47 out of 50? We might as well just do nothing,” said Hecklinger.

But health leaders say that outlook might be what's keeping us here in the first place. Dr. Brian Kaminski with ProMedica points out that Ohio's data reflects a population with low vaccination rates.

He says the issue isn't access, it's reluctance.

"So culture tends to be powerful, and if your belief system is such that you're more questioning and have more skepticism about the vaccine, then it's likely that those that surround you think the same way and you're less likely to get vaccinated,” said Kaminski. “So I think that's what we're seeing are cultural differences across the country."

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Dr. Kaminski says it's possible for Ohio to recover from these negative data points, but it would require people to put away those beliefs and roll up their sleeves.

"It's really simple, get vaccinated,” said Kaminski. “We know the chances of hospitalization go down by a factor of ten so a tenfold lower risk of hospitalization if you're fully vaccinated, a ten times lower risk of death, and at least a four times lower risk of contracting COVID. So if we're all vaccinated, we'd be way higher up that list."

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