Google Phone Data Reveals Mixed Stay-Home Compliance

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Phone data compiled by Google’s parent Alphabet shows that many people initially ignored stay-home mandates, but were increasingly compliant in April, according to a Reuters report on Friday (May 1).

As the coronavirus curve flattened in the U.S. and Australia, more people made their way to parks and work, while Brazil, Japan and Singapore continued to stay home, the data indicates.

Aggregated travel patterns compiled from Google users’ phone data compared daily traffic to retail stores, parks, public transportation, supermarkets and jobs from Jan. 3 to Feb. 6.

Singapore implemented lockdown mandates across the nation-state April 7 following COVID-19 outbreaks in the dormitories used by migrant workers. The first weekend of April saw visits to stores and parks decline 25 percent. By the last weekend of April, foot traffic was down 70 percent.

Brazil saw a steady decline in the number of people going to bars and movie theaters through late April, but the numbers started increasing as more people headed to parks and returned to work. President Jair Bolsonaro instituted some stay-home mandates but opted not to implement a total lockdown.

In Australia, travel dropped 80 percent as the pandemic escalated, but by late April as the rates of new cases slowed, the rates of travel began to creep back to normal.

Tokyo saw outings fall about 50 percent through the end of April as the number of new coronavirus cases declined from the city’s peak of 201 on April 17. 

As new cases in the U.S. started dropping, more people started returning to their jobs. By April 24, the number of new cases dropped 48 percent after being down 56 percent on April 10. States in the Midwest and South were among the first to start resuming normal activity, the Google data shows. 

Foot traffic to retail and recreation locations was down 63 percent on April 12, but by April 26, that number declined to 42 percent.

Governors started relaxing restrictions in many states by the last week of April as the number of new cases flattened and the weather got warmer.

Georgia reopened the state ahead of most of the U.S., although a recent PYMNTS survey reports that while people may miss normal life, they are not rushing to get back out there. 

Meanwhile, in China, where the virus was first reported in late 2019, the lockdowns have begun to ease, although spending still isn’t as strong as it once was.



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