Social Distancing


When it comes to the coronavirus, city, county, and state leaders have constantly repeated how important social distancing is when it comes to combatting the novel coronavirus. Still, according to new data, Houston and Texas residents as a whole seem to be failing at the idea of social distancing.

Unacast, a Norway-based software company has released an interactive scoreboard that grades areas on their ability to social distance during the pandemic. According to this data, Harris County and Texas residents have an “F” grade when it comes to social distancing.

The scoreboard includes data for counties across the country. It generates an overall social distancing grade that is based on three things. It looks at the change in the average amount of travel, the change in visitation that occurs at non-essential venues, and the change in human encounters. The metrics used to determine the grades were compiled using anonymous smartphone location date from millions of smart phone users.

The information that was looked at was compared to a pre-pandemic timeline that included the weeks of February 10 through March 8. The human encounters metric that was used shows the chance that two devices were in the same place, at the same time.

According to the latest data, Harris County receives a “D” for the amount of distance traveled and an “F” in the reduction of non-essential visits. They also received an “F” for the number of human encounters. This leads to an overall “F” grade when it comes to social distancing. This data spiked when the state began reopening on May 1.

The “F” grade is a drastic drop from the “A” that Harris County had back at the end of March.

Many other Greater Houston-area counties also received an “F” in social distancing. Those counties include Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller.

You can find new updates to Unacast on a daily basis. This information as based on data that was available as of May 19.