Evidence Shows Current Efforts are Flattening the Curve for Coronavirus: The Impact Varies Significantly Among States

The coronavirus and its accompanying disease COVID-19 has had the fastest, most significant impact on the global community in generations, impacting the physical, emotional, and financial health of the world. Based on the exponential spread of the virus, early models predicted a rapid growth of COVID-19 cases, ultimately overwhelming the health care system and leading to millions of deaths. Because of these projections, government leaders have enacted various policies ranging from closing schools to social distancing to shelter-in-place orders in order to limit the spread of the disease.

Empirical evidence is beginning to suggest that the initial efforts of local and national leaders to flatten the curve are having their intended effect. Over the past two weeks, the expected peak of COVID-19-related hospital admissions has dropped by an astounding 86 percent. Additional analysis at the state and county level reveals significant variation, likely related to the timing and level of the interventions that leaders have put in place.

However, the findings in this white paper show evidence that although current widespread lockdowns are flattening the curve for the coronavirus, the impact varies significantly among states. While each state has seen some level of flattening of the curve, results have not been consistent. The decrease in the projected peak hospital utilization rates vary significantly from a high of 97 percent for Arizona, to a low of 29 percent for Arkansas. This likely is driven by the meaningful differences in policies that each state has enacted around social distancing.

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