Minnesota receives 'A' grade for social distancing based on cell phone data

Minnesota's social distancing report card shows the state earned an "A" rating based on cell phone data.

According to extrapolated cell phone data, Minnesota has received an “A” grade in social distancing so far in the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his daily briefing Tuesday, Gov. Tim Walz pointed to the data taken off cell phone towers and aggregated by the technology company Unacast.

The data shows Minnesotans have decreased their average distanced traveled by about 45.66 percent on average.

“Minnesotans seem to be social distancing to a point where we’re stretching out the peak infection rate a little bit,” Walz said Tuesday.

Walz said movement is down about 40 percent in the metro area and around 26 percent in greater Minnesota.

Unacast’s data shows the top five social distancing counties so far are Traverse, Red Lake, Swift, Norman and Washington counties. The bottom five are Otter Tail, Lake, Aitkin, Cook and Lake of the Woods counties.

Nationwide, other “A” grade earners are Washington, D.C., Alaska, Nevada, New Jersey and Rhode Island. The bottom five social distancing states are Oregon, New Mexico, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, according to the data.

To collect the data, Unacast says it used tens of millions of anonymous cell phone records and their interactions with each other in order to ensure user privacy.