Amid COVID-19 Resurgence, Data Shows San Antonio and Texas Both Suck at Social Distancing

click to enlarge MAURÍCIO MASCARO / PEXELS
Maurício Mascaro / Pexels
Mobile-phone GPS data holds some potential insight into why San Antonio and Texas are recording alarming rises in COVID-19 cases — namely, that we aren't limiting our nonessential movement.

Unacast, a company that collects and analyzes smartphone GPS location data, has given San Antonio an "F" grade on the latest version of its "Social Distancing Scoreboard." Overall, the Lone Star State also earned a big, fat failing grade.

The company uses GPS data to analyze how far people are traveling, where they're heading and to weigh the probability they're interacting with other people once they get there. On all three counts, Texans aren't making deep enough cutbacks, according to the numbers.

Then again, neither are most U.S. states and territories, which have spent recent weeks reopening their economies. The District of Columbia's C- grade was the nation's highest, and another 17 states scored either a D, D+ or D-. The rest earned failing marks.

The low scores for SA and Texas are a turnaround from late March, when Unacast's data showed that residents of both had substantially cut their travel distances. Back then, both earned "A" ratings. 

Of course, those scores came around the time San Antonio and other large Texas metros were implementing stay-at-home orders.

Unacast assembled its scoreboard with the help of public health experts, policy makers, academics, community leaders and others.

"According to the World Health Organization and the CDC, social distancing is currently the most effective way to slow the spread of COVID-19," the company posted on its website. "We created this interactive scoreboard, updated daily, to empower organizations to measure and understand the efficacy of social distancing initiatives at the local level."

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