Virginians not staying socially distant and staying at home, data says


RICHMOND, Va (WRIC/WAVY) — A majority of Virginians are not staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic and people are traveling out of their own counties when making trips, according to new data from the University of Maryland.

The university’s COVID–19 Impact Analysis Platform shows 32 percent of people stayed at home during the week of April 22 to April 29, and of the nearly three trips each person made, 42 percent were “out-of-county trips.”

During the same time frame, the following Hampton Roads cities (presented as counties on the data) had the following social distancing index (SDI).

The SDI represents the extent residents and visitors are practicing social distancing. “0” indicates no social distancing is observed in the community, while “100” indicates all residents are staying at home and no visitors are entering the county.

City/CountySDI% staying home% out-of-county tripsMiles traveled
Virginia Beach50322819.2
Newport News45294221.7
April 22-26, 2020

In a video message, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney took to Twitter after seeing the university’s data for his city, saying the results “frankly, disturbed me.”

From April 22 to 29, the City of Richmond’s ‘social distancing index’ was 49 out of 100, and 34 percent of people were staying home. 48% of trips made were out-of-county trips, and those who traveled went 22.3 miles.

“I have no idea where you guys are going in this time but one thing I do know, we are not staying at home. And that’s problematic, and so I’m begging you, I’m begging you, I’m pleading with you please stay at home,” Stoney said.

Many took advantage of the warm weather Saturday in Richmond, including Michelle Landon; a teacher who says her busy schedule keeps her close to home.

“During the week I try to take, at least, a walk a day. I live at Rocketts Landing so I try to kind of walk in my own backyard,” Landon said.

Julia Bagley walked along the Virginia Capital Trail Saturday, who says “I feel like just walking out and about, there’s enough fresh air that (coming in close contact with others for a prolonged period of time) it’s not an issue.”

Data says 27 percent of people in both Chesterfield and Henrico counties are staying home, while miles traveled among each person hovered around the mid-20 percentile from April 22 to April 29.

Information for other Virginia counties and how the data is compiled can be found on the University of Maryland’s COVID–19 Impact Analysis Platform website.

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