Google Maps data shows pandemic habits


Anonymized data Google Maps has gathered from mobile phones over the past few weeks shows that in Latvia there’s been a 50% decrease in visits to retail and recreation locations, and a 48% decrease in visits to transit stations, according to data published by Google in the COVID-19 Community Mobility Report on March 29.

The data shows a slight drop among visits to grocery and pharmacy locations (-22%) as well as workplaces (-25%), but only an 18% decrease in park visits since the implementation of emergency measures to fight the spread of the Covid-19 novel coronavirus. Hopefully those people enjoying nature are also following the 2 people 2 meters rule. Unsurprisingly visits to residential locations increased by 7%.

Google mentions in the report that the data varies from region to region, and therefore “ we don’t recommend using this data to compare changes between countries, or between regions with different characteristics (e.g. rural versus urban areas). ” The week from January 3 to February 6 was used as the median control week for baseline calculations.

The report data is collected from those who have enabled the “Location History” setting on their phones, which is off by default on mobile phones, and can also be turned off or erased through a user’s Google account.

As  previously reported  , to mitigate the risks of further spread of Covid-19 among the population, the Latvian government adopted stricter regulations to limit gatherings of people in private and public events, which it said were “in line with the epidemiological situation.”

The new restrictions on physical proximity apply to public indoor and outdoor activities and establish the rule that no more than two people may meet and that they must maintain a distance from each other of at least two meters.

Furthermore, during the state of emergency meetings are prohibited – except for the holding of funeral ceremonies outdoors, which will also be subject to a two-meter inter-personal distance. All encounters in public spaces – indoor, outdoor and communal areas – must comply with the two-meter distancing rule as well.

At the request of the Center for Disease Prevention and Control, the National Police will be able to request information from electronic communications merchants on specific individuals who may have the status of infected or contact persons to conduct epidemiological investigations and verify the accuracy of the information provided by the person – in other words, quarantine-breakers will in theory be easier to trace.


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