Wyoming’s efforts to combat spread of coronavirus getting better, especially in Teton County

WYOMING — With states taking actions such as closing non-essential businesses, banning even small gatherings, and ordering people to shelter in place to fight the spread of the coronavirus, WalletHub today released updated rankings on the Most Aggressive States Against the Coronavirus

To identify which states are taking the largest actions to combat coronavirus, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 46 key metrics. The data set ranges from tested cases of COVID-19 per capita to school closures, ICU beds, and shelter-in-place policies.

Wyoming improved 19 spots to #38 from its previous near-last position thanks to several changes and a statewide mandate from the Governor’s Office and State Health Department.

Biggest Changes in Rank from the Previous Report

  • Hawaii moved from rank 45 to rank 11, up 34 positions. One reason is that the state has increased its number of tests administered per 100,000 residents by 400 times, from 0.49 to 211.74.
  • Colorado moved from rank 35 to rank 9, up 26 positions. This is due in part to the fact that the state has increased prevention measures and announced statewide closures of schools, bars and restaurants.
  • Maine moved from rank 33 to rank 8, up 25 positions. Maine has improved its aggressiveness against coronavirus by banning gatherings of 10 participants or more as well as closing restaurants and bars, among other measures.

Are we social distancing? 

Social distancing poster. Image: Courtesy NPS

Other analytics—notably that from tech startup Unacast, which keeps a Social Distancing Scoreboard using data from your cellphone—find Wyoming doing a not-so-great job of social distancing.

Using location services from smartphones, Unacast assigns letter grades to counties and states based on how much residents have changed their movements on a specific date compared to what’s typical on that day of the week. For instance, if many people in an area used to commute daily to work but now are leaving the house only for visits to the grocery store, the data would show a big reduction in travel distance.

Overall, Unacast gives the United States a B, for a 32 percent decline in average distance traveled. Wyoming scored an F, overall, although Teton County was best in the state on how it adjusted its residents adjusted their travel. A 47% decline was good enough for an A grade while bordering counties Lincoln and Sublette each received an F.

A story by The Washington Post from technology columnist Geoffrey A. Fowler titled “Smartphone data reveal which Americans are social distancing (and not)” is very revealing.

For example, The Washington Post asserts: “that the U.S. government is in talks with Facebook, Google and other tech companies about using anonymous location data to combat the coronavirus, including tracking whether people are keeping at safe distances from one another. The data wouldn’t be held in some federal database; it would be managed by industry and health officials, who could query it for research.”

Wyoming gets a failing grade from Unacast for social distancing, but Teton County, in particular, scored an A. Image: Unacast


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