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Within 4 months of COVID-19 first being reported in the USA, it spread to every state and to more than 90% of all counties. During this period, the US COVID-19 response was highly decentralised, with stay-at-home directives issued by state and local officials, subject to varying levels of enforcement. The absence of a centralised policy and timeline combined with the complex dynamics of human mobility and the variable intensity of local outbreaks makes assessing the effect of large-scale social distancing on COVID-19 transmission in the USA a challenge.

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