Social Distance: Who’s Paying Attention?

According to New Jersey Governor Murphy, the state now has 8,825 Covid-19 cases and 108 deaths attributable to the disease.

It could be worse. A new site tracks how much residents of the US have reduced their mobility since the mandate to close businesses and maintain a social distance from one another. New Jersey gets an “A” rating for a reduction in mobility exceeding 40%. (I’m assuming that mobility is assessed from cell phone records.)(1)

  1. Besides, NJ, the other states getting “A” ratings are New York, New Hampshire, Vermont and Nevada.
  2. California and Florida get “B” grades, for reductions in travel greater than 30%.
  3. Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Virgina, North Carolina and Texas are in the “C” range, with reductions in travel greater than 20%.

The scoreboard isn’t perfect. It doesn’t adjust for population for example. So the states with the worst scores are those with relatively few people. (Wyoming has fewer people than Mercer County, NJ, spread over a much larger area, so social distancing may not matter as much.)

Mercer County itself gets a top score for social distancing, and with that comes a very low incidence of infections and no deaths. Not that there is any stereotype that pictures the City of Trenton as a health mecca.

Adherence to social distancing means, according to projections from Rutgers, we will only be 60,000 hospital beds short for the expected caseload statewide. If we pay less attention or the work-at-home mandate is eased, we’d be 200,000 beds short.(2) And that’s just New Jersey. Louisiana doesn’t have anywhere near the number of hospitals we have.



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