Are Governors Wrong Not to Implement Stay At Home Orders?

Last week news broke on Governors that were chastised for not implementing stay at home orders or similar order. Are they wrong to do so? We examine the data.

The Background

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC has recommended individual practice social distancing. The enforcement of this comes down to each state government, most of which have implemented some flavor of stay at home orders. These range from a complete lockdown as in California to softer guidelines like what is offered in Wisconsin. Each of these states follows the social distancing sprit, however, some states have not implemented similar measures, and some have only implemented partial measures.  In all, eight states have no stay at home or partial stay at home orders (Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming)

The Statistics

To help identify and rank states we used the COVID-19 Project dataset to identify the total deaths in each state. We then weighted these deaths by population to generate deaths per million statistics and ranked each state on this statistic.

In addition to reviewing states with no stay at home orders, we also show the top 10 and bottom 10 states by rank here.

The Results

We found that among states with no stay at home orders they average 10 death per million. The national average for all states is currently 49 deaths per million. These states, without any social distancing orders, are performing at 5 times the average of the nations. Seven of the eight states are in the top 15 performing states in the country. The eighth is Oklahoma ranked at 32nd.

It appears that in most cases the governors of these states are responding appropriately to the response to social distancing orders, perhaps even better if you consider other factors besides social distancing orders.