States with few virus cases get big share of relief aid

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Alaska, Hawaii, Montana and Wyoming are among the least-populated states in the U.S., and not surprisingly have the lowest numbers of residents who have tested positive for the new coronavirus. But despite their small size, they scored big this spring when Congress pumped out direct federal aid to the states. An Associated Press analysis shows those four, along with other small states, took in an out-sized proportion of the $150 billion in federal money that was designed to address coronavirus-related expenses, when measured by the number of positive tests for the COVID-19 disease. Their haul ranged from $2 million per positive test in Hawaii to nearly $3.4 million per test in Alaska. In Wyoming, the smallest state with less than 600 positive cases, the $1.25 billion it received from the congressional package equates to 80 percent of its annual general state budget. By comparison, New York and New Jersey, by far the hardest-hit states, respectively received about $24,000 and $27,000 per positive coronavirus test. Other states with high numbers of coronavirus cases, including Massachusetts, Michigan and Illinois, received less than $100,000 per positive case.

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