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Scoring Social Distancing

10 Apr

By: Colleen Weber

News / News and Updates

Comments: No Comments.

We all understand the importance of social distancing during the global Covid-19 pandemic.  Or do we?

A new website is doing something ingenious; it is collecting and aggregating the location tracking data on peoples’ cellphones to determine whether they are or are not coming within six feet of other individuals.  Taken together, the algorithm provides an index that allows us to see which states’ citizens are practicing social distancing, and which states’ populations are not following guidelines.  

You can see a map of the country here: https://www.unacast.com/covid19/social-distancing-scoreboard, which shows that southern and midwestern states earn a low “D” grade for social distancing, meaning less than a 20% decrease in social distancing despite repeated warnings..  Others earn a “C,” except for New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Illinois, Michigan, Colorado, Nevada and Hawaii, which get a “B” (30-40% decrease in social behavior).  The District of Columbia is awarded an “A-“ grade, which indicates a greater than 40% decrease in riskily close human contact.  

The site also gives an aggregate graph of changes in non-essential visits and change in average mobility (based on distance traveled), graphed alongside the number of new reported cases since late February.  The data show that there has indeed been an increase in social distancing overall in the U.S., particularly in March, as the number of new cases has risen from 892 (March 10) to 19,621 (March 30). 

You can also click on “counties,” and see a list, from the “A”s at the top to the “F”s at the bottom, of all the counties in America.  How is yours doing?