Increasing evidence social distancing policies at the state level are causing decreases in the viral transmission of Coronavirus COVID 19

We continue to monitor the incredible data coming from the Kinsa Data Team.

Today, they announced:

We are seeing increasing evidence that social distancing policies enacted at the state level are causing decreases in viral transmission. This analysis is based on our real-time illness signal collected over the last two weeks which is highly correlated with the national influenza-like illness (ILI) reported by the Center for Disease Control (CDC)”

They interpret these declines in presumed flu infections to be a promising indication that social distancing measures will be effective at slowing the spread of COVID-19. 

What we are seeing here is likely an overwhelming decrease in seasonal cold and flu transmission rather than any effect specific to COVID-19.

They go on to share comparisons of roughly four weeks of influenza-like illness levels for three states — Florida, Washington and California — that first reported COVID-19 infections.

The first confirmed COVID-19 case in the U.S. was in Washington state on Jan 21. The first COVID-19 related death was in Washington state on Feb. 29. Washington was also the first state to implement widespread social distancing policies. Here is the timeline.

Washington state and California have aggressively instituted social distancing measures and have shown declines in influenza-like illness in the subsequent days and weeks.

In Florida, the limited implementation of social distancing measures is associated with a prolonged and sustained increase in illness levels.

On March 1, Florida reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19. Although the governor declared a state of emergency the same day, there were no mandatory restrictions implemented at the state level until March 17, when all bars and nightclubs were ordered closed. Public universities started canceling in-person classes on March 17 and 18 and public beaches, as well as restaurants and gyms, were ordered closed on March 20.

In comparison, here is the faster response from California.

Since I’m in Florida, here is their chart of atypical Illness Levels for Hillsborough County, FL and surrounding areas as of March 24, 2020.

Compare Tampa Bay above to the atypical Illness Levels for Los Angeles County, CA and surrounding areas below. LA is benefiting from the quick response to social distancing over Tampa Bay.

The bottom line is the evidence shown above for Washington state, California and Florida, strict social distancing measures appear to have an effect on reducing the total influenza-like illness.


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Read the full report from the Kinsa Data Team: Social Distancing and its Effect on Reducing the Spread of Illness.

Mike Shell is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Shell Capital Management, LLC, and the portfolio manager of ASYMMETRY® Global TacticalMike Shell and Shell Capital Management, LLC is a registered investment advisor focused on asymmetric risk-reward and absolute return strategies and provides investment advice and portfolio management only to clients with a signed and executed investment management agreement. The observations shared on this website are for general information only and should not be construed as advice to buy or sell any security. Securities reflected are not intended to represent any client holdings or any recommendations made by the firm. Any opinions expressed may change as subsequent conditions change.  Do not make any investment decisions based on such information as it is subject to change. Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal an investor must be willing to bear. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. All information and data are deemed reliable but is not guaranteed and should be independently verified. The presence of this website on the Internet shall in no direct or indirect way raise an implication that Shell Capital Management, LLC is offering to sell or soliciting to sell advisory services to residents of any state in which the firm is not registered as an investment advisor. The views and opinions expressed in ASYMMETRY® Observations are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect a position of  Shell Capital Management, LLC. The use of this website is subject to its terms and conditions.

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