The Committee To Unleash Prosperity (CUP) has released the most comprehensive analysis to date on how states handled the COVID-19 crisis. These results have also been published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
The Report Card on the States measures and compares state performance on three metrics: the economy, education, and mortality from the virus. It answers the question: how did states do in balancing the health of their citizens, allowing their economies to remain operational and keeping job losses low, and keeping their schools open so that school-aged children did not suffer long term educational setbacks.
Each of these three metrics were equally weighted. The states that received an F grade were New Jersey, New York, California, Illinois and Washington, D.C. These states performed poorly on every measure. They had high age-adjusted death rates; they had high unemployment and significant GDP losses, and they kept their schools shutdown much longer than almost all other states.
The top performers were Utah, Nebraska, and Vermont with Montana and Florida right behind.
The study verifies other studies which have found that locking down businesses, stores, churches, schools, and restaurants had almost no impact on health outcomes across states. States with strict lockdowns had virtually no better performance in Covid death rates than states that remained mostly open for business.
The study also found that keeping schools closed had almost no impact on the death rates of children or adults, but it did severe damage to the educational progress of students.
You can read the full study here: https://committeetounleashprosperity.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Which-States-Handled-the-Covid-Pandemic-Best.pdf