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Louisiana gets D-grade for social distancing; New Orleans A-minus

Using anonymous cell phone data, Unacast tracks mobility nationwide, comparing the amount of movement before the pandemic and movement now.

NEW ORLEANS — As more parishes tighten restrictions on day-to-day life, technology is outing those who disobey stay-at-home orders.

A data-science company called Unacast has developed a Social Distancing Scoreboard.

Using anonymous cell phone data, Unacast tracks mobility nationwide, comparing the amount of movement before the pandemic and movement now.

Using evidence of how much our daily habits have changed, it can rank communities based on how well it is following guidelines.

Governor John Bel Edwards referenced the scoreboard during his daily press conference Friday.

"For those of you who are not taking the crisis seriously, I'm asking you to do a better job," said Gov. Edwards.

The report card for Louisiana changed by the end of his press conference.

As of 9 p.m. Friday, Louisiana earns a D grade. Orleans Parish, which ranks the best in the state, gets an A-minus. But every other parish in the state gets a C grade or worse when it comes to staying home.

In St. Tammany Parish, which scored a D minus, Slidell has just implemented an 11 P.M. curfew.

Police Chief Randy Fandal posted a video on Facebook Friday, pleading for people to stay home.

"I know this is hard. We live in South Louisiana. We're used to having parties, crawfish boils, and enjoying each other's company," said Fandal. "I'm ready, more than anyone, to get my life back to normal. But we can't until we flatten this damn curve."

New Orleans Police not only arrested two people after a repast in the city last weekend, but it has also responded to about 800 calls about large gatherings this week alone.

Still, officials are thanking those who are making sacrifices to save lives.

"I'd like to thank the business owners, as well as the citizens of New Orleans, who have been compliant with the mayor's mandate to stay at home," said Superintendent Shaun Ferguson.

There are similar tools popping up online — like Google's Community Mobility Report — which tracks visits to parks and grocery stores.

It also shows that in Louisiana — visits to businesses for retail and recreation have only fallen 45 percent since before the pandemic.
And visits to the grocery store have only fallen by 16 percent.

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