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article imageCOVID-19 restrictions are varying significantly across the U.S.

By Tim Sandle     Oct 21, 2020 in Health
The autonomy of states in the U.S. has led to considerable variation in coronavirus control measures. There is a balance between what the federal government requires and what individual state governors think is suitable.
Not only are there variances across the different states, the situation is also changeable. This means some states are changing their positions and others are taking measures against health advice, by putting very few 'restrictions' in place. Key differences are between those states with few restrictions and with those states opting to delay any further reopening of public facilities or even with re-activating previously lifted sanctions.
The extent of the variance has been examined by the personal-finance website WalletHub. The company has released a review of individual states with the fewest and greatest COVID-19 measures.
For the analysis, a number of health control measures were assessed, cutting across each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. In all, some seventeen essential metrics were used. The video below describes some of the metrics used to compile the data:
The types of factors looked at included the level of fines imposed for non-compliance with coronavirus legislation (in some cases there are no fines at all); plus, the requirement to wear face masks in public (or not), and whether any health checks (such as temperature measurements for fever) are required prior to people entering catering facilities.
The outcome is that the states with the fewest health measures in place to safeguard their citizens are:
1. South Dakota
2. Idaho
3. Utah
4. Oklahoma
5. Iowa
6. Wisconsin
7. Wyoming
8. Missouri
9. North Dakota
10. Arkansas
For those wishing to see strong protective measures being put in place, the top placed state is somewhere to avoid. In terms of coming in first place, South Dakota does not have any requirement for people to wear face coverings in public, and there are no limits on large gatherings (two of the essential measures to reduce coronavirus infections).
In contrast, those states that have put in place tighter measures to look after the health and welfare of their citizens are (in terms of appearing at the end of the rankings):
42. Pennsylvania
43. District of Columbia
44. Oregon
45. Arizona
46. Colorado
47. New Jersey
48. Maine
49. Massachusetts
50. California
51. Hawaii
Looking at the data for WalletHub, analyst Jill Gonzalez notes there is there a strong correlation between how restrictive a state is and its unemployment rate?
With this Gonzalez notes: “There is a strong correlation between a state’s restrictiveness and its unemployment rate.”
She adds that the analysis shows that 68 percent of states with the fewest coronavirus restrictions also have lower unemployment rates. Gonzalez: “This makes sense because states with fewer restrictions allow more places to open, which in turn provides more opportunities to work.”
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