Comparative analysis of state public health measures and number of COVID 19 cases in California, Texas, and New York (April to July 2020)

Yasmin Khajenoori, Lina Kamil, Joyita Bhattacharjee,Ellie Feng, Sanvi Pal

OSF Preprints(2020)

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In response to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States, every state has utilized varying degrees of public health policies yielding different trends in the number of cases. Due to the lack of a unified approach taken in response to the global pandemic in the United States, we can look at the general trends in case numbers from different states in the context of the public health measures that have been implemented. Through the use of multiple databases, we collected data from each states health department websites and policy data came from the COVID-19 US State Policy Database on the CDR, as well as the KFF state policy database in order to graph the number of daily new cases in three different states while marking the dates when the certain policies were implemented. The scope of this particular review focuses on California, New York, and Texas, each of which have taken different approaches and are reflective of three different areas of the continental United States. The four policies that are analyzed include shelter in place orders, mask mandates, the closure and reopening of non-essential businesses, and the closure and reopening of restaurants for in person dining. To further understand the reopening strategies of these three states, we have utilized the “National Coronavirus Response: A Roadmap to Reopening” guide to compare the points at which each state decided to open considering testing capacity, contact tracing, and case numbers/trend in cases at that point in time. Based on this data, we comparatively analyzed trends in cases and policy measures, taking into account other factors like tracing and testing capacity to evaluate the appropriateness of each state’s measures in its overall goal of reopening. Overall, we have found New York which began as the hotspot for COVID-19 cases, to ultimately be the most successful state in regard to reducing the number of daily new cases and surpassing goals for contact tracing and testing. Conversely California, which began as a success story, has seen a sharp rise in cases after moving into phases of reopening. Similarly, Texas has also seen a rise in cases over recent months with the relaxation of public health measures before meeting the markers for reopening. Both California and Texas have been far behind on testing and contact tracing capabilities. Not only abiding by public health policy recommendations but also being consistent with these measures throughout the course of the pandemic are correlated with lower numbers of cases when comparing New York with California and Texas. This finding implies that for future pandemics, and moving forward with the current pandemic, extreme caution should be taken in timing public health measures and tracking cases.
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