We all rely on our cell phones, so do social scientists. In fact, TopData Global IT Solutions is using the data it gets from our phones to track our response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Specifically, TopData is tracking to see if people are social distancing.
“What we can actually do is predict the number of cases that will happen two to three weeks after the fact based on the amount of social interaction happening now,” said Ben Kaplan, the CEO of TopData.
When Florida reopened for business, predictable, we went out more and practiced social distancing less.
And the virus started to spread.
“Our actions affect each other, and this virus takes advantage of that,” said Marissa Levine, a professor of public health and family medicine at USF.
Now, it’s to the point Florida has become an epicenter of COVID-19.
With positive cases and deaths spiking, our phones show we started to social distance again.
“So, as there’s a lot of concern, there’s been a little bit more social distancing occur,” Kaplan said.
“Everybody knows somebody who’s been affected to some degree or actually starting to see mobility go down,” Levine said.
We asked people in fort Myers if they’re staying away from people.
“It’s hard with this new normal,” Victoria Mangan said. “You want to go out, but you can’t.”
“Well, don’t wait to lose a family member,” Robert Borzilleri said. “Do your part, and let’s all join together and take care of this.”
If you trust the numbers, we’re social distancing again, which the scientists believe will lead to fewer cases of COVID-19.
Levine said, while there’s so much talk about masks, social distancing is the most important tool to stopping the spread of COVID-19.