The Geographic Distribution of Workers Most At Risk Economically When Ordered To Stay At Home

Junjie Guo

Executive Summary:

On March 24, 2020, at the direction of Governor Tony Evers, Wisconsin issued a “safer at home” order requiring residents not to leave their home unless necessary. Similar orders to lock down the economy in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19 have been issued elsewhere. Different from many other countries like China, Italy and most recently the U.K., the federal government in the U.S. hasn’t issued such an order nationally, and President Trump recently expressed his willingness to move in the opposite direction and “have the country opened up … by Easter” after his direction of 15-day social distancing ends next week, a timeline that is dramatically sooner than what many public-health experts have recommended. Instead, some state and local governments have been issuing lockdown orders on their own. At the time of this writing (11:50 pm CST on 3/25/2020), 196 million Americans in 21 states, 37 counties and 16 cities are being urged to stay at home, according to a real-time tracker by the New York Times, which also noted that “A few states – Kentucky, Maryland and Nevada, for example – have walked up to the line, closing down all non-essential businesses but not issuing formal orders for people to stay home”.

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