Duke Study: Eviction, Utility Shutoff Moratoriums Slowed COVID-19 Spread

Duke Study: Eviction, Utility Shutoff Moratoriums Slowed COVID-19 Spread

10:15am Jan 26, 2021
Protesters display placards while calling for support for tenants and homeowners at risk of eviction during a demonstration. STEVEN SENNE/AP

A new study by Duke University shows that moratoriums on evictions and utility shutoffs helped reduce COVID-19 infection rates.

Duke University researchers analyzed the impact of policies intended to prevent evictions or shutoffs of essential services such as water and electricity. The study encompasses all counties in the U.S. between March and November of 2020. 

According to a news release, the moratoriums helped reduce COVID-19 cases by just over eight percent. Researchers say there would have been a further decrease in cases and deaths if such measures had been in place since the onset of the pandemic. 

Study co-author Kay Jowers explains that members of an evicted household are often forced to share a living space with another household, which brings more people into closer contact with each other.

Jowers says that in many cases, those people are essential workers who can’t work from home, creating the potential for further community spread.

President Joe Biden has proposed a nearly $2 trillion relief package to provide rental and utility assistance for those hardest hit by the pandemic’s economic fallout.

Biden also signed an executive order extending a nationwide pause on evictions through the end of March.

For the most up-to-date information on coronavirus in North Carolina, visit our Live Updates blog here. WFDD wants to hear your stories — connect with us and let us know what you’re experiencing.

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