Wyoming, once ranked among the worst states in the nation for social distancing, has moved all the way up to third place — but largely because the rest of the country is doing so poorly.
Unacast, a company that tracks the movements of people through the cell phone signals, gave Wyoming a “D+” in its latest “social distancing scorecard” for its efforts to social distance during the coronavirus pandemic.
Wyoming is topped only by Montana and Alaska in Unacast’s latest report, which is based on data collected from late February through June 29. It shares the “D+” grade with those two states, along with New Mexico and Vermont, which placed fourth and fifth in the latest report.
The majority of states, 34, received a grade of “F.”
Unacast uses cell phone signals to track human movement to detect patterns in traffic and where people gather.
Using that technology, Unacast has been ranking states for their success at social distancing based on how much people have reduced the distance the country’s first diagnosed coronavirus case in late February.
The company’s grade also takes into account how many people travel to “non-essential” locations such as restaurants and department stores and how many interactions people have with others.
When the company’s first scorecard was issued, it looked only at the distances people traveled. Wyoming, with its long distances between communities, came in near the bottom of the scorecard.
But when the study began taking human interactions into consideration, Wyoming’s sparse population played in its favor.
The latest report gave the state an “A” for a 94% decline in encounters between people from the beginning of the pandemic.
The state still received an “F” for trips to non-essential destinations and for reducing travel distances by less than 25% since March.
Crook County topped Unacast’s ranking of the state’s counties with a grade of “C,” however, the county’s ranking does not include data from visits to non-essential destinations.
Laramie County, with a grade of “D-,” comes in last with grades of “F” for failing to reduce average distances traveled by more than 25% and for reducing visits to non-essential destinations by less than 55%
The county did get a “C” for reducing encounters between people by 74% to 82%.