Last April, states began to sporadically reopen after weeks of being shut down. Georgia was among the first to begin the process, while some states didn’t start lifting restrictions until June.
The uncoordinated reopening caused chaos, according to Sinan Aral, director of MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy. Why? Because Georgia pulled in hundreds of thousands of visitors from neighboring states – folks hoping to get a haircut or go bowling.
Aral was tracking Americans on social media, and it became clear to him that having uncoordinated coronavirus policies doesn’t make sense. As people watched their social feeds fill with images of people heading back outside, they stepped out too — even if their state wasn’t at the same phase.