We are all supposed to be practicing social distancing right now to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, formally known as COVID-19. But a new interactive map makes it clear that some of us are following the guidelines better than others.
Unacast, a location data company, created a social distancing scoreboard that ranks how well states and counties are following social distancing guidelines. The map uses tens of millions of anonymous mobile phones and their interactions with other phones to compare the distance traveled in a given day.
The states who are following social distancing protocols the best are the District of Columbia, Alaska, Nevada, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. On the flip side, Oregon, New Mexico, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming make up the bottom of the rankings.
The scores were calculated using a variety of factors, according to Unacast CEO and founder Thomas Walle. The company looked at data including changes in distance traveled, changes in the average time spent in or around the home and change of activity clusters (or how many people no longer gathered in the same location at the same time).
Walle wrote in a blog post that the data does not identify individual people, devices, or households.
“We also believe [the scoreboard] will not only help make sense of what’s happening now, but unearth trends that will help project scenarios in the short- and mid-term future,” Walle said.
If you want to check out how your own state is doing, the map gives each state a letter grade. Most states fall in the A or B grade range, but still, there are a few states that need to step up their social distancing game.
By clicking on your state, you can see how many confirmed coronavirus cases it has had, as well as which counties are following social distancing protocols the best and which counties need more work.
Many states, including Illinois, California, Connecticut, Oregon, New York, and others, have ordered citizens to shelter in place as a way to enforce social distancing. However, not all states have made this requirement yet.
The social distancing map is not the first example of using people’s location data to figure out coronavirus-related patterns and how the virus is spread. An open-source app created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) could theoretically tell you if you crossed paths with someone who has the coronavirus.
The U.S. government is also reportedly looking into how it can work with big tech companies such as Facebook and Google to see if cell phone location data can be used to combat the rapid spread of the coronavirus outbreak.
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