US Social Distancing Grades Lower, But Nevada Still Receives ‘A’ Report Card

Posted on: April 10, 2020, 10:25h. 

Last updated on: April 10, 2020, 11:59h.

Americans are becoming restless. The latest social distancing report from a location data research firm reveals many states aren’t doing as well in staying home as they once were.

social distancing Nevada coronavirus
Social distancing remains a challenge across America in the fight against COVID-19. (Image: EPA)

The Unacast COVID-19 Social Distancing Scoreboard for the most recent data gives the country a nationwide “B” average. Several states with previously high marks saw their grades lower.

On March 26, reported that all of the following states, which each have commercial and/or tribal casinos, all received “A” or “A-” grades: Nevada, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Delaware, Connecticut, Maryland, Delaware, Florida, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, and California.

Today, only Nevada maintains its “A-” rating, and is one of only two states with an “A” report, the other being Vermont. Nevada is, of course, the gaming capital of the country, with Silver State casinos winning $12 billion last year.

I’m so proud of our state,” Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) said of the social distancing report card. “Keep up the great work, NV!”

New York, the hardest hit state by COVID-19, has been lowered to a B- grade.

People in 42 states, plus DC and Puerto Rico, are being urged or ordered to stay home. More than 316 million people are supposed to be avoiding all non-essential travel and activity.

Bad Bible Belt

The worst social distancing grades in the US are in the southeastern part of the country. No state from Texas to Florida, up to New Jersey and Pennsylvania and west to Iowa, has a grade higher than a “C.”

South and North Carolina have the lowest grades in the country, both receiving “D+” marks.

Atlantic City’s casinos remain on shutdown until further notice because of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D) order. The Garden State has 54,588 positive coronavirus cases, and 1,932 people have died from the disease. Atlantic County, home of Atlantic City’s nine casinos, have 211 COVID-19 positive people and six deaths. New Jersey has a “C+” score.

Florida was reluctant to close non-essential business, and the Seminole Tribe was one of the last Native American groups in the country to shutter its casinos. It now has over 17,500 positive coronavirus results, and nearly 400 deaths. Florida has a “C+” grade, too.

Louisiana, home to Harrah’s New Orleans, plus commercial riverboat casinos and Native America gaming, is social distancing at a “C” grade. Louisiana has 18,283 positive cases of the coronavirus, and 702 deaths.

Grading Social Distancing

Unacast grades are dependent on three proxies, which are compiled using location data from cellular phone networks. The research firm uses:

  • Change in average distance traveled compared to a pre-COVID-19 period
  • Change in visitation to non-essential venues compared to a pre-COVID-19 period
  • Change in human encounters compared to a pre-COVID-19 period

The third proxy is the newest. Unacast explains, “Several of our users observed something that was on our radar: in many rural places and other less-populated areas, the baseline for ‘social distancing’ is naturally much lower, and thus, it is inaccurate to apply the same standard to places that have drastically less potential to decrease. We heartily agree.”

“Since our data cannot detect if two humans have actually met, we instead use our data to simulate potential encounters and derive the probability that two devices that were in the same place at the same time,” Unacast added.