What happened

Shares of space company Virgin Galactic (NYSE:SPCE) rose for a second straight day Tuesday, closing the trading day up 2.7%.

So what

In contrast to yesterday, there's no obvious news to explain investors' optimism about the space-tourism company today -- so let's look at some less obvious data. Down in New Mexico, where Virgin Galactic has its base of operations at Spaceport America, there's a red-yellow-green quarantine order in effect to limit the spread of coronavirus. In counties designated "red," there are strict limitations on non-essential workers going to work. New Mexico health officials, however, have promised to review the data on a county-by-county basis every two weeks -- and on that basis, things are looking good for Virgin Galactic.

Overall, the state has seen new coronavirus cases dwindle over the past five days, falling to just 826 new cases reported yesterday. And in Sierra County, in particular, where Spaceport America is located, the Department of Health says that it's seeing improvement in "average daily per-capita case rates" and the county could be "rapidly approaching Yellow Level thresholds."   

Glowing green arrow climbs on a stock screen.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Coronavirus is a tricky beast, and there's no guarantee that this trend -- which looks good right now -- won't reverse in the days ahead. Still, for now, the trend is down, and the longer it keeps heading in that direction, the greater the chances are that restrictions will be lifted in Sierra County sooner rather than later. That would be good news for Virgin Galactic's spaceflight test program, and longer term, for the company's prospects to attract customers to visit Spaceport America to begin taking tourist flights to space.

It's an incremental positive for the stock and, in the absence of any other good news, is probably the reason Virgin Galactic stock ended the day on a high note.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.