Gov. Gavin Newsom receives the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in April. Photo by Shae Hammond for CalMatters

California ranks as the 4th safest state during the Delta surge, trailing only Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut, the personal finance site WalletHub reported Friday.

WalletHub compared rates of COVID-19 transmission, positive testing, hospitalizations and death, as well as the share of the eligible population getting vaccinated, to create the ranking.

California had the lowest death rate among all 50 states, and ranked fifth lowest in positive testing rate.

Texas, where a governor with national Republican ambitions has fought mask and vaccine mandates, ranked 39th overall. Alabama, where deaths now exceed births, came in dead last.

The study found that all states are getting safer as vaccinations increase, but “some states are already safer than others, though, based on how well they have kept the pandemic under control and how much they are vaccinating.”

Experts contacted by WalletHub encouraged Americans in all states to continue safe practices until the pandemic is completely under control — and to get vaccinated.

“Everyone should continue to socially distance and wear masks as recommended by the CDC,” said David F. Merrick of Florida State University. “These simple measures will enable our communities to handle the back half of this pandemic as vaccines roll out.”

“Promoting the idea that protecting yourself by being vaccinated also protects your family, your friends, your neighbors, and our country could be a powerful message,” said Matthew L. Boulton, a medical dean at the University of Michigan.

Republican opposition to masks and vaccine mandates had an impact on the rankings. WalletHub found that states that voted for President Biden ranked an average of 16th, while states won by Donald Trump came in at 37th.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.