Social distancing works. The earlier the better, California and Washington data show.

Mandatory social distancing works. The earlier the better, preliminary data from two weeks of stay-at-home orders in California and Washington show.

Those states were the first to report community cases of covid-19 and also among the first in the nation to mandate residents stay at home and close businesses and schools to keep people physically apart. Analyses from academics and federal and local officials indicate those moves bought those communities precious time — and also may have “flattened the curve” of infections for the long haul.

While insufficient testing limits the full picture, it’s clear the disease is spreading at different speeds in different places in the United States. California and Washington continue to see new cases and deaths, but so far they haven’t come in the spikes seen in parts of the East Coast. Social distancing efforts need to continue for several more weeks to be effective, experts say.

The Washington Post