With social distancing being the new norm amid the COVID-19 pandemic, one company is tracking how well Americans are doing it by using cell phone data.
Unacast gave each state a grade based on how well they are with distancing themselves from others.
The Unacast online social distancing scoreboard rates states and counties throughout the country with letter grades, ranging from A to F.
Connecticut has been graded with a C for social distancing.
Fairfield County was graded with a B,Tolland County B, New London County B, Hartford County C, New Haven County C, Middlesex County C-, Windham County C- and Litchfield County with a D.
According to Unacast, the company analyzes several factors to come up with the grade for a state or county.
Unacast said it uses cellphone data to help pinpoint the amount of time a person spends at or close to home, and the amount of time a person spends away from home.
The firm said it also uses similar data to determine when a large group of people is gathered in one place, such as a grocery store.
“This is a pro bono initiative,” Jeanne Meyer, a spokesperson for Unacast, told Recode Magazine.
“They have 25 data scientists that took five years’ work and spent four days cooking this thing up to help with what’s happening.”
One way the maps could help is by showing health officials that surrounding countries are getting better grades, which would imply that their messaging to local residents about social distancing needs improvement.
“What that’s going to tell a local official is, ‘What are we doing? What is that county doing that we’re not?’” Meyer said.
“They’re very large conclusions one might draw, but I think the value with this will come over time.”
According to the Washington Post, Unacast’s scores haven’t been vetted by public health officials or epidemiologists, so it’s hard to say how reliable they are or what they’ll be able to tell us.
You can view the scoreboard here.