How New Mexico is graded on its social distancing

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – This week, the state shared a report card it’s using to grade counties and the state all together on its social distancing.

As of Wednesday, April 1, New Mexico had a C- rating. “We’re really going for an ‘A’ on this report card. That ‘A’ will lower the number of cases, hospitalizations, ICU stays, and deaths in New Mexico,” said Dr. David Scrase, with the New Mexico DHS.

The report card is by a company named Unacast. Without identifying any specific person, device, or household, it combines data from tens of millions of cell phones.

It then uses those phones to compare the distance traveled before the pandemic to the distance traveled today. If the distance traveled in an area decreased by at least 40% it gets an ‘A.’ If the distance traveled in an area decreased by less than 10% it gets an ‘F.’ The grades are then compared to the number of new cases of COVID-19 in the area.

The company said it recognizes that people can travel far without meeting with anyone and is constantly tweaking its methodology to make the report card more accurate.

As of April 1, New Mexico has a C- rating while Bernalillo County has a B- rating. “I’m not surprised if it was Walmart, but if it was other places, I’m a little bit surprised. I think people are pretty good,” said Valerie Bennett, a New Mexico resident.

“I actually was not surprised. This is a smaller state…people, this is real to them but it’s not like New York where it’s actively going on,” said Tamra Gleason, a New Mexico resident.

People said they see the worst social distancing at grocery stores. “I did some shopping for my mom and everybody was literally shoulder to shoulder. Even the workers weren’t keeping their distance,” said Bennett.

“We were talking about it and we both went to Costco yesterday at different times and I was surprised how many people were out shopping,” said Angela Murhpy, a New Mexico resident. Despite many stores taking measures like social distance markers at check out stands, crowding still happens in some stores.

The Unacast report card does have an opt out form for people who do not want their cell phones being used for data collection.

New Mexico Coronavirus Resource Guide

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