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Despite Different Policies, States Converge on Similar Levels of Activity

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Despite Different Policies, States Converge on Similar Levels of Activity

September 18, 2020

coronavirus-recovery-dataEach state has taken a different approach to the novel Coronavirus, weighing the trade-offs of greater infections and economic destruction. In the spring most of the country shut down and southern states were quicker to reopen and then suffered outbreaks. Economists have argued shutdowns don't have much impact on behavior, that people don't go out much when there is an outbreak. This chart, from Google Mobility data, tracks how much people visited retail and recreation businesses, compared to a baseline January and early February. We can see big drops in all states in the spring, followed by a faster rebound in Arizona, Texas and Florida. Once these states had an outbreak, mobility plateaued or decreased slightly. But mobility did not significantly decline. Meanwhile New York has been slower to recover, even as rates remained low, and California's mobility remains depressed compared to other states. Mobility in all states remains below the baseline, and has started to converge to similar levels. 

Allison Schrager is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Follow her on Twitter here.

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