Their article “Strong social distancing measures in the United States reduced the Covid-19 growth rate” was the third most viewed article in Health Affairs, considered the leading journal of health policy thought and research.
The work of Courtemanche, Yelowitz, and others found that social distancing measures in March and April of 2020 likely greatly reduced the spread of Covid-19. They estimate that there would have been about 10 million more cases if state and local governments had not instituted bans on social gatherings, school closures, and closure of other gathering spots such as bars and restaurants.
The authors used a data set that tracked U.S. counties for 58 days from March 1 through April 27, with a sample size of 182,004 people. A March 1 start date was used to coincide with the first reported cases of Covid-19 in the U.S., with April 27 used as a cut off when some social distancing restrictions were being lifted.
A preponderance of the journal’s top 20 most read articles in 2020 addressed the Covid-19 pandemic. The research addressed a range of issues such as impact on hospital admissions, estimates of fatality rates, the efficacy of face mask use, and racial and economic disparities of the pandemic. Read the entire study by Cortemanche and Yelowitz.