Throwing Caution to the Wind: COVID-19 and Hurricanes

8 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2021

See all articles by Marlon Tracey

Marlon Tracey

Southern Illinois University - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

Alicia Plemmons

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Ariel R. Belasen

Southern Illinois University - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 23, 2021

Abstract

The onset of Hurricane Laura during the COVID-19 pandemic provides a natural experiment to estimate the effect of reduced social distancing on the spread of COVID-19. To this end, we first provide evidence of hurricane-induced mobility. Then using hospital-level data on confirmed and suspected adult COVID-19 cases, we find that such cases rise by more than 10 percent in hurricane-affected counties in subsequent weeks. Lower income areas endured a higher growth in COVID-19 cases in the post-hurricane period. These findings provide crucial insights for policymakers when designing natural disaster protocols to adjust for potential viral illnesses.

Keywords: COVID-19, hurricanes, mobility, pandemic

JEL Classification: I14, I18, Q54

Suggested Citation

Tracey, Marlon and Plemmons, Alicia and Belasen, Ariel R., Throwing Caution to the Wind: COVID-19 and Hurricanes (April 23, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3832804 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3832804

Marlon Tracey

Southern Illinois University - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville ( email )

1 Hairpin Drive
Edwardsville, IL 62026-1102
United States

Alicia Plemmons (Contact Author)

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville ( email )

Edwardsville, IL 62026
United States

Ariel R. Belasen

Southern Illinois University - Department of Economics ( email )

Edwardsville, IL 62026-1102
United States

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