How Lives Saved Estimates Were used by Policymakers
June 25, 2020
Infographics produced by the Urban Health Collaborative (UHC) in partnership with the Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC) have made waves across the country as public officials reinforce the value of social distancing in their jurisdictions. Learn more about the partnership between the UHC and BCHC here.
The infographics highlight estimates of lives saved and hospitalizations avoided due to stay-at-home orders in each of the BCHC member cities, emphasizing to residents of the 30 largest U.S. metropolitan areas that their efforts have made an impact. These estimates, based on 45-and 60-day shelter-in-place/stay-at-home orders, were calculated by the UHC using a model published by The New York Times. Methodology for calculating estimates were developed and shared to the UHC by Community Information Now (CI:Now), a nonprofit committed to democratizing data, serving south-central Texas. The infographic created by CI:Now for Bexar County can be found here. CI:Now, along with the UHC, are members of the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP).
Policymakers have referenced the infographic statistics to underscore the effectiveness of social distancing policies and promote continued caution.
- Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf cited the number of lives saved by stay-at-home orders in Philadelphia during a press conference on May 20, 2020 announcing his plan to relax some restrictions in the state.
- Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and Health Commissioner Tom Farley referenced the stats in public briefings on May 14, 2020 as the city’s COVID-19 case counts began to decline.
- Mecklenburg County, North Carolina Manager Dena Diorio noted prevented hospitalizations and lives saved in Charlotte in a statement thanking the community for its ongoing distancing efforts on May 14, 2020.
The infographics have reached people sheltering in place from coast to coast through extensive local and national media coverage. The statistics were referenced in over 60 stories published in news outlets including the Philadelphia Inquirer, Forbes, the Associated Press, and the San Diego Union-Tribune, many featuring interviews with UHC Policy & Community Engagement Core leads Amy Carroll-Scott, PhD, MPH and Jennifer Kolker, MPH. Pickup across network broadcast and television stations has further extended the impact of the infographics.
In an interview with Forbes.com, Jennifer Kolker emphasizes the importance of public health prevention measures. “I really hope that people will understand that it did matter,” she says. “It’s very abstract. You can’t quantify prevention. This helps make something that’s very abstract more concrete.”
Avoided hospitalizations and lives saved estimates for all 30 BCHC cities can be found here.