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Report: Cortland County residents need better social distancing

Local News

A new report by Unacast scoring communities across the U.S. on their social distancing obedience currently ranks those living in Cortland County at an “F.”

That score comes as the result of data showing a less than ten-percent reduction in distance traveled by Cortland County residents, compared to before the arrival of COVID-19 and the associated restrictions/recommendations in place.

The Social Distancing Scoreboard is based on data from Johns Hopkins University and uses cell phone location data to measure the percentage of change in average distance traveled by residents before and after the arrival of COVID-19 to their community.

(click here for full report)

Overall, New York State is at an A-ranking for reporting a greater than 40% reduction in distance traveled.

All local numbers:

  • Tompkins and Onondaga Counties are at “B” for 30-40% less distance
  • Madison, Chenango and Broome Counties are at “C” for 20-30% less distance
  • Tioga and Cayuga Counties are at “D” for 10-20% less distance
  • Cortland County is at “F” for less than 10% less distance.

Methodology (from Unacast website)

For counties:

– Before March 22: Corona Data Scraper
– Starting March 22 (incl): John Hopkins github repository started publishing complete data on each county in USA (with FIPS for each county) on March 22

For states:

All data is only from John Hopkins github repository:
– Before March 22: Archived data
– Starting March 22 (incl): Current data

  • To ensure a full picture of activities, we wait for three days after an event day for all the data for that given event date to come in. Processing takes another day and therefore, the existing and default delay is four days from a given event date.
    Since we know time is of the essence in the fight against COVID19, our team is figuring out if we can reduce the lag, use less data, and still provide strong signals. At the same time, we will further enhance our score to make it more robust and explain different facets of social distancing.

  • Our first underlying metrics uses change in average distance traveled from pre-COVID-19 days as one proxy:
    • A: >70% decrease
    • B: 55-70% decrease
    • C: 40-55% decrease
    • D: 25-40% decrease
    • F: <25% decrease or increase

    Our second metric uses change in non-essential visitation as an additional proxy:
    • A: >70% decrease
    • B: 65-70% decrease
    • C: 60-65% decrease
    • D: 55-60% decrease
    • F: <55% decrease or increase

    These two metrics are then combined:
    A & B = round( (5 + 4) / 2)  = 4.5 =  A-
    A & C 
    = round( (5 + 3) / 2 )  = 4 =  B
    F & D 
    = round( (1 + 2) / 2 )  = 1.5 =  D-

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