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Covid Near You|SurveyMonkey poll: natural disasters and social distancing

Covid Near You|SurveyMonkey poll: natural disasters and social distancing

Wildfires have increased social distancing in the west

Seven in 10 people living in the western U.S. (the West Census region: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming) say they have been threatened by smoke and wildfires in the past few months. 

Most in that group (75%) said their social distancing behaviors remained unchanged despite dealing with the effects of the fires and smoke; still, more than one in five (22%) say they had to increase their social isolation as a result of dealing with the wildfires and smoke. Very few (just 3%) had to come into closer contact with people than they otherwise would have as a result of the wildfires and smoke. 

Hurricanes have minimal effect on social distancing in the south

The southern U.S. has faced several threatening hurricanes this season, but few residents report a significant impact on their coronavirus-related social distancing practices as a result. 

Just more than one third of people (34%) in the 17 states that make up the South Census region (Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virgina, and West Virginia) say they live in an area that has recently been threatened by hurricanes. Among that group, 84% say their social distancing has been unchanged, with just 7% saying they’ve come into closer contact with others and 8% saying they’ve become even more isolated as a result of the hurricanes. 

These data come from a new poll conducted by Covid Near You and SurveyMonkey. Covid Near You is a joint team of epidemiologists from Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School that uses crowdsourced data to help citizens and public health agencies identify current and potential hotspots for COVID-19. A response to the threat of wildfires and hurricanes, in some cases, means a need to be in close contact with others. 

For more detailed results, click through the interactive toplines below.
Read more about our polling methodology here