How is East Texas doing at social distancing? Hint: It’s not good.

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Patients wear personal protective equipment while maintaining social distancing as they wait in line for a COVID-19 test at Elmhurst Hospital Center, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo sounded his most dire warning yet about the coronavirus pandemic Tuesday, saying the infection rate in New York is accelerating and the state could be as close as two weeks away from a crisis that sees 40,000 people in intensive care. Such a surge would overwhelm hospitals, which now have just 3,000 intensive care unit beds statewide. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Social distancing has become such an integral part of everyday life over the past few weeks that it’s almost hard to remember back to a time where it was not preached every second of the day.

But while seemingly everyone knows what social distancing actually is, that does not mean pepole are actually practicing it.

Data provided by Unacast.com using cellular GPS data indicates that while we are aware of social distancing, there is still a long way to go in terms of “flattening the curve.”

Unacast compared current location data to data collected during typical pre-pandemic movements and noted changes in total distance traveled, time spent around the house, and activity clusters.

A screenshot of Smith County’s overall social distancing grade. The county has been the epicenter of East Texas with half of the area’ COVID-19 cases residing in its borders

Each location is assigned a letter grade ranging from A to F. An ‘A’ means there has been more than 40-percent decrease in social behavior, ‘B’ is a 30 to 40 percent decrease, ‘C’ is a 20-30 percent decrease, ‘D’ is a 10 to 20 percent decrease and an ‘F,’ is a less than 10-percent decrease in activity.

As of Monday, Texas as a whole had roughly a ‘B-‘ with a 32-percent decrease in distance traveled. However, at the county level East Texas has some work to do.

No county has a letter grade higher than a ‘C’ with the vast majority basically failing. It works out like this:

  • C: 6
  • D: 16
  • F: 5

According to the chart above, Smith County saw its greatest decrease of activity on Saturday, March 21. The county decreased its travel by 43 percent.

On that day, the county jumped into the double digits with 10 confirmed cases, a number that has more than tripled in the past nine days.

However, there was a spike in travel the following week. In fact, the spike was so large that Smith County jumped from an A to an F on the chart in just four days.

The numbers have yet to take into account whether certain counties are adhering to stay-at-home orders that were issued over the weekend.

Nacogdoches County issued an order on Sunday and Smith County had one take effect on Saturday.

However, even before orders were issued, many jurisdictions were still being urged to stay home when possible. With the data provided, it does not appear that advice is being widely followed.

As of this writing, East Texas has 65 cases of coronavirus with 32 being in Smith County. Two people have died, a 91-year-old man in Smith County and a 47-year-old woman in Van Zandt County who had an underlying medical problem with her kidneys.

Throughout Texas, there have been 34 deaths out of approximately 2,500 cases.

Here is how East Texas counties rank:

  • Anderson: D
  • Angelina: D
  • Bowie: F
  • Camp: D
  • Cass: D
  • Cherokee: C
  • Gregg: D
  • Franklin: F
  • Harrison: D
  • Henderson: C
  • Hopkins: F
  • Houston: C
  • Marion: D
  • Morris: D
  • Nacogdoches: F
  • Panola: D
  • Polk: D
  • Rains: D
  • Rusk: D
  • Sabine: C
  • San Augustine: D
  • Shelby: D
  • Smith: C
  • Titus: F
  • Trinity: D
  • Upshur: D
  • Van Zandt: D
  • Wood: C

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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