Early Evidence on Social Distancing in Response to COVID-19 in the United States
11 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2020
Date Written: April 6, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to overwhelm the US health care system if unchecked. Social distancing measures, which may slow the spread of infectious disease, may allow the US health care system time to expand and prepare to respond to COVID-19. I demonstrate that there has been substantial voluntary social distancing and provide some evidence that mandatory measures have also been effective at reducing the frequency of visits to locations outside of one’s home. However, voluntary social distancing is moderated by partisanship and media consumptions in ways that heighten the importance of honest, clear, and consistent communications by political leaders and the media.
Keywords: COVID, COVID-19, social distancing, health, coronavirus
JEL Classification: I12, H12, H84, H75, K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation