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State variation in effects of state social distancing policies on COVID-19 cases.
Kaufman BG, Whitaker R, Mahendraratnam N, Hurewitz S, Yi J, Smith VA, McClellan M. State variation in effects of state social distancing policies on COVID-19 cases. BMC public health. 2021 Jun 28; 21(1):1239.
The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) sickened over 20 million residents in the United States (US) by January 2021. Our objective was to describe state variation in the effect of initial social distancing policies and non-essential business (NEB) closure on infection rates early in 2020.
We used an interrupted time series study design to estimate the total effect of all state social distancing orders, including NEB closure, shelter-in-place, and stay-at-home orders, on cumulative COVID-19 cases for each state. Data included the daily number of COVID-19 cases and deaths for all 50 states and Washington, DC from the New York Times database (January 21 to May 7, 2020). We predicted cumulative daily cases and deaths using a generalized linear model with a negative binomial distribution and a log link for two models.
Social distancing was associated with a 15.4% daily reduction (Relative Risk? = 0.846; Confidence Interval [CI]? = 0.832, 0.859) in COVID-19 cases. After 3 weeks, social distancing prevented nearly 33 million cases nationwide, with about half (16.5 million) of those prevented cases among residents of the Mid-Atlantic census division (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania). Eleven states prevented more than 10,000 cases per 100,000 residents within 3 weeks.
The effect of social distancing on the infection rate of COVID-19 in the US varied substantially across states, and effects were largest in states with highest community spread.