Press Release

New Estimates Show Stay-At-Home Orders Prevented 2.1 Million Hospitalizations and Over 200,000 Deaths in 30 Major U.S. Cities

May 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 7, 2020             

8 IN 10 AMERICANS BELIEVE CORONAVIRUS ORDERS HAVE KEPT THEIR COMMUNITIES HEALTHIER AND SAFER

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, May 7, 2020, the Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC) released estimates that show that early actions by BCHC members, leaders from America’s largest metropolitan health departments, to get the public to stay home led to an estimated 2.1 million hospitalizations avoided and over 200,000 lives saved. These estimates, based on 45-day shelter-in-place/stay-at-home orders, were calculated by the Urban Health Collaborative at Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health using a model published by The New York Times.

“Ordering people to shelter in their homes was unprecedented and difficult. Everyone’s collective action has dramatically slowed the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Sara Cody, health officer for the County of Santa Clara and chair of the Big Cities Health Coalition. “These measures have prevented many infections, hospitalizations and deaths. It’s tempting to let up, but we need to massively scale up two essential guardrails–testing and contact tracing–to protect the progress we’ve made, as well as the most vulnerable among us.”

Additionally, a survey conducted in April by NP Strategy Group found that Americans in all regions of the country understand the impact of stay-at-home orders in place across the nation. It found that, on average, 4 out of 5 (80%) respondents agree that stay-at-home orders helped keep them and their communities healthier and safer during the pandemic, with agreement across age, gender, political and regional breakouts. At the same time, 75% approve of the actions taken by their local public health leaders, and 68% approve of their elected officials’ decisions. Additional poll results are available at https://www.bigcitieshealth.org/stayhomeimpact.

“While we as a country have lost far too many to COVID-19, stay-at-home orders across the nation have made a real difference in the number of hospitalizations and deaths,” said Chrissie Juliano, MPP, executive director, Big Cities Health Coalition. “Importantly, this poll confirms that there is strong public support for these actions and for local health officials who continue to use science and data in their decision-making processes. This is the job of public health, and as we move into whatever the next phase of this pandemic brings, it is critically important that we continue to increase testing capacity and contact tracing, as well as ensure resources flow into communities to support response and recovery activities.”

The Urban Health Collaborative at Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health calculated estimates for lives saved and hospitalizations avoided for BCHC member jurisdictions using a model published by The New York Times. See the breakdown by jurisdiction and read additional information on methodology can be found at https://www.bigcitieshealth.org/stayhomeimpact.

BCHC Member City          (Jurisdiction Used in Modeling)EstimatedHospitalizations AvoidedEstimatedLives Saved
Days of Stay at Home Order
After 30 DaysAfter 45 DaysAfter 60 DaysAfter 30 DaysAfter 45 DaysAfter 60 Days
Austin (Travis County)      32,171       45,898       54,908     3,382       4,988       5,741
Baltimore City      15,149       21,382       24,985     1,588       2,287       2,589
Boston      12,523       19,670       29,242     1,310       2,032       3,030
Charlotte (Mecklenburg County)      28,108       40,005       47,453     2,952       4,320       4,946
Chicago      68,254       97,575      117,206     7,187      10,635      12,269
Cleveland       9,692       13,828       16,542     1,019       1,503       1,730
Columbus (Franklin County)      33,253       47,441       56,753     3,496       5,155       5,934
Dallas County      66,556       94,954      113,593     6,997      10,318      11,876
Denver      18,365       26,201       31,256     1,931       2,842       3,266
Detroit      16,987       24,236       28,993     1,745       2,634       3,031
Fort Worth (Tarrant County)      53,096       75,751       90,365     5,583       8,215       9,441
Houston      58,727       83,784       99,948     6,175       9,086      10,443
Indianapolis (Marion County)      24,388       34,752       41,340     2,562       3,761       4,314
Kansas City      12,423       17,723       21,143     1,306       1,922       2,209
Las Vegas (Clark County)      58,205       81,666       94,463     6,097       8,682       9,752
Long Beach      11,873       16,838       19,831     1,246       1,811       2,062
Los Angeles County    253,522      362,610      436,656   26,702      39,613      45,762
Miami-Dade County      68,777       97,888      116,113     7,224      10,572      12,103
Minneapolis      10,782       15,327       18,116     1,132       1,652       1,886
New York City    141,958      226,728      288,724   15,188      24,062      30,876
Oakland (Alameda County)      42,664       60,216       70,364     4,473       6,441       7,291
Philadelphia      40,003       57,072       68,275     4,206       6,202       7,138
Phoenix (Maricopa County)    114,769      161,603      187,879   12,032      17,263      19,437
Portland (Multnomah County)      20,527       29,286       35,034     2,159       3,183       3,663
San Antonio (Bexar County)      52,932       75,426       89,723     5,562       8,163       9,364
San Diego County      84,304      120,579      145,202     8,879      13,172      15,217
San Francisco      22,503       31,761       37,112     2,359       3,397       3,845
San Jose (Santa Clara County)      49,212       69,453       81,161     5,159       7,429       8,409
Seattle-King County      56,891       81,165       97,097     5,981       8,819      10,151
Washington, D.C.      18,015       25,427       29,711     1,888       2,719       3,078
Total BCHC Member Jurisdictions 1,496,629   2,156,245   2,589,188 157,520    232,878    270,853

CONTACT: Max Mays mays@bigcitieshealth.org or 913-233-6830 

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About the Big Cities Health Coalition

The Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC) is a forum for the leaders of America’s largest metropolitan health departments to exchange strategies and jointly address issues to promote and protect the health and safety of their residents. Collectively, BCHC member jurisdictions directly impact nearly 62 million people, or one in five Americans. For more information, visit https://www.bigcitieshealth.org.