God is in the Rain: The Impact of Rainfall-Induced Early Social Distancing on COVID-19 Outbreaks

35 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2020

See all articles by Rolly Kapoor

Rolly Kapoor

University of California, Santa Cruz

Haedong Rho

University of California, Santa Cruz

Kinpritma Sangha

Independent

Bhavyaa Sharma

University of California, Santa Cruz

Ajay Shenoy

University of California, Santa Cruz - Department of Economics

Guanghong Xu

University of California, Santa Cruz

Date Written: May 19, 2020

Abstract

We test whether earlier social distancing affects the progression of a local COVID-19 outbreak. We exploit county-level rainfall on the last weekend before statewide lockdown. After controlling for state fixed-effects, temperature, and historical rainfall, current rainfall is a plausibly exogenous instrument for social distancing. Early distancing causes a reduction in cases and deaths that persists for weeks. The effect is driven by a reduction in the chance of a very large outbreak. The result suggests early distancing may have sizable returns, and that random events early in an outbreak can have persistent effects on its course.

Note:

Funding: None to Declare

Declaration of Interest: Kinpritma Sangha Consults with pharmaceutical companies. Did not receive any funding or compensation for this work. All other authors none to declare.

Keywords: COVID-19, coronavirus, social distancing, rainfall

JEL Classification: I12, I18, H75

Suggested Citation

Kapoor, Rolly and Rho, Haedong and Sangha, Kinpritma and Sharma, Bhavyaa and Shenoy, Ajay and Xu, Guanghong, God is in the Rain: The Impact of Rainfall-Induced Early Social Distancing on COVID-19 Outbreaks (May 19, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3605549 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3605549

Rolly Kapoor

University of California, Santa Cruz ( email )

1156 High St
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
United States

Haedong Rho

University of California, Santa Cruz ( email )

1156 High St
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
United States

Kinpritma Sangha

Independent ( email )

Bhavyaa Sharma

University of California, Santa Cruz ( email )

1156 High St
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
United States

Ajay Shenoy (Contact Author)

University of California, Santa Cruz - Department of Economics ( email )

Santa Cruz, CA 95064
United States

HOME PAGE: http://people.ucsc.edu/~azshenoy

Guanghong Xu

University of California, Santa Cruz ( email )

1156 High St
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
United States
(Fax)

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