Cook County, Illinois Earn ‘A' Grades on Social Distancing Scorecard

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Both Cook County and Illinois overall get an A grade in social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak, according to a new scorecard using GPS data to rate counties and states on their efforts to stop the spread of the pandemic.

The grades came from the "Social Distancing Scoreboard" put out by a company called Unacast. The company's data scientists used GPS data to track the change in distance traveled across the country since days before the coronavirus pandemic to determine how areas were doing at social distancing.

A decrease in distance traveled of 40% or more earned an A, between 30% and 40% a B, and so on through F, which was a less than 10% change.

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By tracking change in distance traveled, the company says it captures "how people adapt their everyday behavior in a few significant areas." These include working from home rather than going into an office, avoiding non-essential trips to entertainment venues or places solely for recreation and canceling vacations or travel - all three of which drastically reduce distance moved daily.

Illinois scored an A as of the scoreboard's last update on Saturday, with a slightly more than 40% decrease in daily travel.

The counties practicing social distancing the best, according to the scoreboard, were Edwards, Crawford, Macon, Pope and Menard. On the other end, Washington, Fayette, Johnson, Massac and Cumberland counties were performing the worst in putting health experts' guidelines on isolation into place.

While not ranking in the top five counties, Cook County was doing social distancing slightly better than the state overall, with a 44% decrease in distance traveled to score an A.

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As for Illinois' neighbors, Michigan was the only other nearby state to earn an A. Wisconsin and Indiana both scored in the B range, while Iowa and Missouri each earned a C.

The company says its experts "combine tens of millions of anonymous mobile phones and their interactions with each other each day - and then extrapolate the results to the population level" to make its assessments.

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