Insights Blog

States that Re-Opened Early are "Trending Poorly"

June 4, 2020

Brief— SCEPA’s latest policy note by Senior Fellow William M. Rodgers III, former chief economist at the US Department of Labor, highlights a potential headwind to recovery from COVID-19. His findings show that states which lean or are solidly Republican re-opened sooner than Democratic states, and their testing and infection data are “trending poorly.”


Read the report here

Rodgers finds that a state’s decision to “re-open” its economy is primarily based on Republican voters putting pressure on their elected Republican officials, rather than adherence to health guidelines.

For states that re-opened as of May 11th:

  • Almost two-thirds were led by a Republican governor
  • Over two-thirds had constituent party affiliations that either leaned Republican or were solid Republican
  • Most did not meet the President’s re-opening benchmarks
  • Half are “trending poorly" in the spread and treatment of the coronavirus, compared to 26% of states that remained closed as of May 11th

The data analysis suggests these officials bowed to political pressure even though their states had not achieved the CDC’s guidelines and the infection rates in their states had not peaked at that time, a decision that data shows puts the health of more residents at risk.