Enlarge /. The reports are all public, but the nifty magnifying glass effect isn't actually included.
The whole world is trying to alleviate the new coronavirus pandemic. A majority of US states are now in some form of "stay-at-home" mandate, with governors across the country demanding or demanding the closure of unnecessary businesses and everyone having to plant their butts as much as possible at home.
As the disease continues to spread across the country and the globe, officials, regulators, and we, the masses who work from home, are all asking ourselves: We are all actually abiding by these new rules, or there is still chaos on them Streets out there?
Google has inscrutable amounts of data from billions of people worldwide and has summarized some of this location information in community mobility reports to answer this question. Here is the good news: Overall, trips to virtually all places that are not "at home" have declined sharply.
Google used location data from each account that Google enabled to save location history to generate the reports. The company's services have billions of active daily users. Even if only a minority of users would allow location use, an enormous data set would still be created. Google has divided locations into six broad categories: retail and leisure such as malls, restaurants, and museums; Grocery and pharmacy, including farmers' markets and grocery stores, supermarkets and drug stores; Parks, including local, national, and state parks; Transit stations; Jobs; and residential.
The reports, which run through March 29 (last Sunday), are broken down by country. For the United States, Google has also provided state-level reports that show county-level data. There are a number of deviations, but the trend across the board shows an enormous decline in non-essential trips and a significant reduction in trips in the food and pharmacy category. The "living" category is also common and shows that people stay at home.
Regional reports are more robust for urban centers than for rural ones simply because more data is available to Google in densely populated areas. For example, Kings County, New York – better known as the Brooklyn neighborhood – has a population of approximately 2.5 million that is packed within its confines. That's a large enough data set for Google, which found that Brooklyn residents actually made significantly fewer trips through transit stations and to retailers. Travel to work is also declining, probably due to a combination of people who work from home where possible and where they are not laid off or on leave.
<img alt = "After March 8, the day Governor Andrew Cuomo announced, travel within New York City began to decline more than 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in status. "src =" https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/brooklyn-640×362.jpg "width =" 640 "height =" 362 "srcset =" https: //cdn.arstechnica .net / wp-content / uploads / 2020/04 / brooklyn.jpg 2x”/>Enlarge /. Travel within New York City began to decline after March 8th. This was the day that Governor Andrew Cuomo announced more than 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state.
The only real wildcard is the "parks" category, which has no consistent pattern across states and counties. Park visits, for example, rose 27 percent in Mississippi and 19 percent in neighboring Alabama in the east – 18 percent in Louisiana in the west and almost flat nearby, with only a 2 percent drop in Georgia.
The time outdoors can of course be a site-specific phenomenon, as bad weather keeps people indoors and nice weather takes them outside – which becomes a problem of its own. During this time, the daily outdoor time is strongly recommended for your exercise and mental health, and everyone goes for more walks, jogging and cycling. But people who have come home from work and school suddenly pour into many parks, hiking trails and beaches, which leads to crowds and negates the purpose of social distancing. Many jurisdictions will therefore close parks, which will no doubt affect future data.
Even with all the noise, there are some hopeful signs in the data that people are listening. For example, with all justified concerns about spring break travelers and slow leadership in places like Florida, park travel is 77 percent lower than Florida's Miami-Dade County.
"These are unprecedented times and we will continue to evaluate these reports as we receive feedback from public health officials, civil society groups, local governments and the community at large," Google executives wrote in a blog post. "We hope that this knowledge will contribute to further public health information that will help people and communities stay healthy and safe."