By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming continues to gain ground in a national “report card” on social distancing, climbing into 12th place nationally for the success of its residents in reducing their travel and staying away from each other.
Unacast, a company that uses cell phone signals to track the movement of humans, gave Wyoming a grade of “D+” based on data collected as of Tuesday, putting it in 12th place nationally for social distancing, directly behind Idaho and directly ahead of Oregon.
Unacast tracks cell phone signals to determine how far people travel on average, how many non-essential destinations they visit and how many other humans they encounter. Grades for each measurement are combined for an overall state grade.
When the company issued its first report card, Wyoming was ranked last in the country for its ability to social distance based only on the distances traveled by its residents. Unacast said those distances increased by 6% from the period before coronavirus reached the state.
But Wyoming’s ranking has steadily improved since the company began taking Into account how many times residents encounter someone outside of their own home.
Since coronavirus reached Wyoming, interpersonal encounters have dropped by 94% compared to a national baseline of encounters before the pandemic, Unacast said.
The low rate of encounters gives Wyoming a grade of “A” for that measure.
The state still gets a “F” for distances traveled by residents, which fell by less than 25% from pre-coronavirus levels. To receive an “A,” distances traveled must be reduced by more than 70%
The state also gets an “F” for residents reducing their trips to non-essential destinations. Unacast said Wyoming residents have reduced such trips by less than 55%. To receive an “A,” such trips must be reduced by more than 70%.
The nation on average received a grade of “D-“ from Unacast with Nevada receiving the best overall grade of “C+.”