Layman’s abstract for Stat paper on social distancing merely stabilized COVID‐19 in the United States

Each week, we will be publishing layman’s abstracts of new articles from our prestigious portfolio of journals in statistics. The aim is to highlight the latest research to a broader audience in an accessible format.

The article featured today is from Stat, with the full article recently published in Volume 9, Issue 1 and available to read here.

Wagner, ABHill, EL Ryan, SE, et al. Social distancing merely stabilized COVID‐19 in the United StatesStat20209:e302.

Social distancing measures were imposed across the US in order to stem the spread of COVID‐19. We quantify the reduction in the spreading rate of the disease, by state, that is associated with these measures. Using the earlier of K‐12 school closures and restaurant closures, by state, to define the start of social distancing, and considering daily confirmed cases through April 23rd, 2020, we find that social distancing is associated with a statistically‐significant reduction in the doubling rate for all states except for Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. However, we do not find that social distancing led to a contraction of the number of confirmed cases. Instead, social distancing merely stabilized the spread of the disease. We provide an illustration of our findings for each state. We also discuss the policy implications of our findings.


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