The COVID-19 U.S. State Policy (CUSP) database documents the dates all 50 states and the District of Columbia implemented health and social policies to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic ramifications. The CUSP database is free for anyone to use. The database is intended to facilitate rapid response research and journalism, as well as to inform policymakers about potential policy actions. The database is led by researchers at Boston University School of Public Health and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with the help of a large team of student volunteers driven to help improve health during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read more about how the database originated in BU Today‘s story, “What Are States Doing about COVID-19?,” and in Journalist’s Resource‘s “Q&A with health policy expert Julia Raifman.” We also recommend watching our introductory webinar to learn about our team’s findings after a year of collecting policy data and how you might use the CUSP database in future research, journalism, and policymaking.

The CUSP team uses the following process for the initial collection of policy data:

  1. Search government websites for executive orders and directives pertaining to the specific policy.
  2. Search for media coverage of each policy in each state.
  3. Compare to a complementary state tracking effort through media or non-profit organizations to validate policy changes, if possible.
  4. Double check each date and states with no policy changes.
  5. Post to publicly available database with comments on coding decisions.
  6. Invite comments on variables, processes, or data points we can improve and publicly document any revisions.

We aim to make the policy database as complete and accurate as possible in a rapidly changing policy context. If you use data on a given policy, we encourage you to triangulate based on additional sources of policy data and to review the source documentation to consider the coding decisions that are right for your work. Please contact us if you note a discrepancy so we can improve the database for everyone. We note changes in our change log.

Suggested citation: Raifman J, Nocka K, Jones D, Bor J, Lipson S, Jay J, and Chan P. (2020). “COVID-19 US state policy database.” Available at: www.tinyurl.com/statepolicies.