One pandemic, five distinct periods (so far)

June 11, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic approaches the 3-month mark, we can identify four distinct periods in the volume of requests to 2-1-1 it has generated. A fifth period is now beginning, and early signs indicate it may bring a new twist. In the chart below showing daily 2-1-1 request totals for all needs combined, each period is shaded in a different color. In green is the Pre-COVID period during which daily requests to 2-1-1s numbered around 13,000, from January 1 to March 11, the day COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. From March 12 through March 24 came the Initial Surge of pandemic-related requests to 2-1-1, shown in dark orange bars. Daily requests in this period peaked at over 28,000 per day. After the peak, we observe a Steady Decline from March 25 to April 17, shown in light orange bars, shifting to a Gradual Decline from April 18 to May 25, in dark blue bars. Since May 26, a period still in progress and shown in light blue bars, requests have stabilized or slightly increased to around 16,000 per day. It is too soon to tell whether 2-1-1 requests will stay at this level in a kind of new normal, or whether they will climb again as COVID-19 cases rise in an increasing number of states. The dark gray line on the chart represents a 7-day rolling average calculated using current and six prior days. Mouse over each bar to see the number of requests for that day and the line to see average number of requests. Analyses include 2-1-1s in all or parts of 32 states that participate 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. Requests without ZIP code information (e.g., web requests) were excluded from analyses.

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