Throwing Caution to the Wind: COVID-19 and Hurricanes
8 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2021
Date Written: April 23, 2021
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: Suggested Citation