Here’s how the assortment of pandemic response policies have altered the mobility of the people.
Mobility is among the most significantly altered features of society as a result of the emergence of COVID-19.
To combat the virus, national governments have taken varying responses ranging from lockdowns, establishment closures, and travel restrictions. These strategies are quickly changing to adequately respond to the developments in the spread of the coronavirus.
In order to keep track of the policy changes, Google created the COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports, a tool which aggregates information from public health officials and anonymised data from Google’s products and services.
Our World In Data published visualisations of some of the data sets from Google’s reports.
Let’s see how the pandemic changed mobility around the world.
In terms of the time spent at home, it can be observed that most of the countries still tend to record higher durations compared to the pre-pandemic baseline.
Moving the sliders, it can be seen that the average duration spent at home peaked around late March to the first few weeks of April. Globally, while the average duration spent at home in the past few weeks is still greater compared to the pre-pandemic scenario, it is now significantly lower compared to the peak.
Moreover, as of June 8, a lot of countries in Europe have already recorded lowered durations compared to the baseline as more countries reopen in the region.
When it comes to transit station visits, there is still an evident decline in the number of visitors even in recent weeks. This suggests that while people are starting to go out more often, they prefer to move by walking or by using personal vehicles.
A similar observation can be seen in workplace visits. This is expected since a lot of workplaces have shifted to remote work setups. However, as more people are getting out of their homes, there are recorded increases in visits in the previous week.
The general behaviour in grocery visits is similar, save for some momentary surges in visits that can be seen mid-March as a lot of countries began imposing stay-at-home orders during that period.
While on the whole, the visits to parks and outdoor spaces have declined during the pandemic, extremely high increases in visits have been recorded in North America and Europe beginning late May, coinciding with the Floyd and Black Lives Matters protests.
Note that for all the charts presented above, the baseline value was taken as the median value for the corresponding day of the week over the five-week period of January 3 – February 6, 2020.
The median can be thought of as the central value when all the data points for a specific day of the week during the five-week period were collected and ranked.
This was done in order to take into account the changes in mobility behaviour in each day of the week. These differences are highly pronounced when comparing weekdays and weekends, for instance.
To better understand the data treatment in the reports, you can check out the Mobility Report Documentation provided by Google.