If you share your location history, Google is tracking your quarantine activities

The mobility reports use Google Maps data to track activity in parks, grocery stores, and workplaces to understand how stay-at-home orders are working.

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Two Google executives today announced the company's COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports which track how activities have changed around the world since the coronavirus outbreak.

Jen Fitzpatrick, senior vice president, Geo, and Karen DeSalvo, MD, M.P.H., chief health officer, Google Health, said in a Google blog post that the Community Mobility Reports show what has changed in response to work from home, shelter-in-place, and other policies aimed at flattening the curve of the pandemic.  

Activity at work and shopping centers and other places have dropped across the board, but in US states with no stay-at-home orders, parks have been much busier than usual, with activity up at those locations more than 70% in Arkansas and Missouri.

The data comes from users who have opted-in to Location History for their Google Account, so the reports represent a sample of Google users.

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The activity reports use data from Sunday, February 19 through Sunday, March 29. The most recent data representing activity from two to three days ago because that is how long it takes to produce the reports, according to Google.

The reports use aggregated data from Google Maps to show how busy certain locations are, like a community pool or a movie theater. The executives said in a blog post that public health officials have said this data could be helpful in making decisions to deal with COVID-19.

The first group of reports covers 131 countries and regions, including all 50 states in the US. Google plans to add additional countries and regions over the next few weeks. If Google does not have statistically significant levels of data on a particular region or location, that area will not be included in the report. As of April 3, at 10 am Eastern time, reports for China and Russia were not available in the list of countries.

According to the Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases map from Johns Hopkins University and Medicine, South Korea has 10,062 confirmed cases and 174 deaths as of April 3. Italy has 115,242 cases with 13,915 deaths. The Community Mobility Reports form Google show how activity levels compare in both countries.

Italy
Retail and recreation:        -94%
Parks:                                -90%
Grocery and pharmacy:     -85%
Workplaces:                       -63%

South Korea
Parks:                               +51%
Grocery and pharmacy:    +11%
Retail and recreation:        -19%
Workplaces                       -12%

Based on data from the Johns Hopkins map, the US has 245,601 cases, more than any country in the world. The Community Mobility Reports show activity levels for the entire country as well as state by state. Although activity levels have dropped in most states, the numbers are nowhere close to the changes in Italy. In Arkansas and Missouri, two states with no state-wide stay-at-home orders, activity at public parks has gone up dramatically.

Five states have no stay-at-home orders in place. California was among the first states to order a shelter-in-place order, while Florida's order goes into effect April 3. As of April 3, Arkansas had no stay-at-home order. As of April 3, Missouri still had no state-wide stay-at-home order, although 14 cities and counties across the state have issued shelter-in-place rules.  

United States
Grocery and pharmacy:    -22%
Parks:                               -19%
Retail and recreation:        -47%
Workplaces:                      -38%

Arkansas
Grocery and pharmacy:      -7%
Parks:                               +81%
Retail and recreation:        -29%
Workplaces:                      -27%

California
Grocery and pharmacy:    -24%
Parks:                                -38%
Retail and recreation:        -50%
Workplaces:                      -39%

Florida
Grocery and pharmacy:    -26%
Parks:                               -48%
Retail and recreation:        -50%
Workplaces:                      -41%

New York
Grocery and pharmacy:    -32%
Parks:                               -47%
Retail and recreation:        -62%
Workplaces:                      -46%

Missouri
Grocery and pharmacy:    -12%
Parks:                               +73%
Retail and recreation:        -38%
Workplaces:                      -32%

Many maps tracking spread of the coronavirus

The Google activity reports are the newest entry in a growing collection of maps and dashboards tracking the COVID-19 pandemic and predicting how it will grow and change.  

IBM and the Weather Channel built an online dashboard that displays reported COVID-19 cases so that individuals and businesses can see the spread of the virus near them. There is also an interactive dashboard built on IBM Cognos Analytics to help data scientists, researchers, and media organizations conduct a deeper analysis and filtering of regional data. 

These maps predict when hospitals will hit capacity based on how fast the epidemic spreads and how many people contract the virus. 

An emergency notification platform has added state and local coronavirus data to its alert system to help customers to understand the threat level at their local offices. Regroup is using data from the University of Washington and Johns Hopkins University to track cases of the coronavirus at the country, state, and county level .

Apple released a new website and iOS app to allow for COVID-19 screening for coronavirus symptoms. The COVID-19 app and website were built in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the White House's Coronavirus Task Force and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Social distancing is also being measured--location data and analytics company Unacast designed an interactive scoreboard it updates daily to show the efficacy of social distancing initiatives. 

Also see

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Google's COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports track how activities have changed around the world since the coronavirus outbreak.

Image: Google