On average, the United States earns a B for social distancing.
For the last several days, our smartphones were united in tattling on us all. Thanks to a company named Unacast, which collects and analyzes phone GPS location dated, we can now find out how serious the citizens of each county and state are taking social distancing.
"According to the World Health Organization and the CDC, social distancing is currently the most effective way to slow the spread of COVID-19. We created this interactive Scoreboard, updated daily, to empower organizations to measure and understand the efficacy of social distancing initiatives at the local level," said Unacast.com.
The map ranks the social distancing practices of states and counties by A (best) through F (worst). It uses the reduction in the total distance we travel as a rough index for whether we’re staying put at home. Its data comes from the wide variety of apps we have installed on our phones, whether its for shopping, games, and much more.
On average, it says the U.S. earns a B, which isn't too shabby, but certainly has room for improvement.
States where citizens are engaging in more social distancing are in green—and less are in orange. Courtesy of Unacast.com.
According to the map, the states that get an "A" for social distancing, District of Columbia, Alaska, Nevada, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.
The bottom five states are Oregon (C), New Mexico (C), Idaho (D), Montana (D) ... and Wyoming, which is the only state that gets an "F" rating when it comes to maintaining a bubble of personal space.
Alaska is a superstar when it comes to the county-level data, as the state contains the Top 5 counties when it comes to social distancing. However, that's likely not at all surprising due to the large swaths of sparsely populated land in Alaska. The state actually happens to have one of the worst counties for social distancing, Valdez-Cordova Census Area, which falls in a more densely populated area.
The other bottom counties are located in Nevada (Eureka), Montana (Beaverhead), Oregon (Baker), and Colorado (Baca).
While the map is pretty cool, it raises a lot of concerns for many when it comes to privacy. South Korea has used an app to track its quarantined residents. There is no evidence that the U.S. government is using smartphone data to enforce stay-at-home orders or track those who may have been diagnosed as COVID-19 positive. However, the Washington Post reported that the government has been in touch with social and tech companies about using anonymous data during this time of coronavirus for tracking and research.
What do you think about using app data to track coronavirus behavior? Do you think your area is doing a better job than the map is showing? Let us know in the comments!