As Florida COVID-19 cases soar, new study links infection spikes to in-person restaurant dining

"Looking across categories of card spending, we find that the level of spending in restaurants three weeks ago was the strongest predicator..."

click to enlarge Ybor City, Florida on May 8, 2020. - Photo by Michael M. Sinclair
Photo by Michael M. Sinclair
Ybor City, Florida on May 8, 2020.

If you've been feeling a little too nervous to eat inside a restaurant of late because of concerns over coronavirus, you just might be on to something, at least according to a recent study conducted by investment bank J.P. Morgan Chase.

CNBC recently reported on a study conducted by J.P. Morgan, where in-house analysts cross-referenced the spending of 30 million Chase credit card users with John Hopkins University data on coronavirus cases around the country and saw an apparent connection between an uptick in spending in restaurants and rising COVID-19 cases.

"Looking across categories of card spending, we find that the level of spending in restaurants three weeks ago was the strongest predictor of the rise in new virus cases over the subsequent three weeks," wrote JP Morgan analyst Jesse Edgerton.

The authors of the study were quick to point out that there were myriad factors contributing to the exponential rise of coronavirus cases all over the country the last three weeks, but the rise of in-person credit card transactions in restaurants (as opposed to online purchases) was “particularly predictive.”

Same-day new cases in Florida continue to set records, with 59,000 added in the last week alone. On June 26, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation suspended on-premises consumption of alcohol at bars statewide.

This article first appeared at Orlando Weekly

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