12 trends from the first 3 months of COVID-19

June 18, 2020

Three months into the COVID-19 pandemic, requests to 2-1-1s in the U.S. are trending up for child care, low-cost housing, landlord-tenant issues, legal assistance, health services and mental health services. Although requests for food pantries, home-delivered meals and unemployment benefits are declining from earlier peak levels, they are still well above pre-COVID levels. Requests for electric bill payment rose as the pandemic began and have remained high since then. These widely varying trends over time for different social needs indicate the dynamic and evolving nature of the pandemic’s impact on Americans, and highlight the importance of closely monitoring surveillance data such as 2-1-1s collect. For this report, we analyzed 1.4 million requests to 2-1-1s received between January 1 and June 12, 2020. We divided the requests into four periods: pre-COVID (January 1 – March 11), COVID month 1 (March 12 – April 11), COVID month 2 (April 12 – May 11), and COVID month 3 (May 12 – June 12), and plotted the average daily requests for each period for 12 different social needs. Data are from 2-1-1s serving 32 states and participating in a daily tracking system: AL, AR, CA, CT, DE, FL, HI, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, NC, NE, NJ, NV, NY, OH, PA, SC, SD, TN, VA, WA, WI and WY.

Contributors: Rachel Garg, Balaji Golla, Irum Javed, Matthew Kreuter