Coronavirus News: Some states more successful than others at staying home

NEW YORK (WABC) -- For more than two weeks, the Tri-State region has been living under orders to stay at home in an effort to reduce the number of fatalities due to coronavirus.

To see the impact those orders have had on travel, the 7 On Your Side Investigates data team compiled cellphone location information from Descartes Labs that measured the maximum distance cellphone users, who have authorized location sharing within certain apps, traveled from their first reported location each morning.

In early March, before the stay at home orders, the typical New York State resident traveled just over three miles a day, according to data provided by Descartes.

In Connecticut and New Jersey, the typical resident traveled slightly further, just over four miles, according to data provided by Descartes.

By March 23, after stay at home orders took effect, travel dropped off dramatically in the Tri-State region.

Data from Descartes Labs shows the typical person in New York and New Jersey now travels less than 200 feet from home and the typical person in Connecticut travels about 400 feet.

That change is more pronounced in certain counties.

In Manhattan, people already tended to travel shorter distances in a day, about 1.21 miles, compared to other individuals throughout the Tri-State.

In other areas such as Suffolk and Orange counties, New York; and Sussex and Monmouth counties, New Jersey; where the typical person traveled over 5 miles from home a day, the drop in travel is more pronounced.

That same cellphone data from Descartes Labs paints a much different picture of travel nationwide.

While New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut brought most travel to a near stand-still, other states were slower to implement work-from-home orders and continued to maintain closer to typical travel patterns.

Now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is confirming a growing number of cases in some of those states such as Louisiana, Georgia, Florida and Michigan.

Doctors say inconsistent enforcement of stay at homes orders has made COVID-19 harder to contain.

"This exponential curve you are talking about does have people worried," said Dr. Jijoe Joseph, an attending physician for Emergency Medicine. "This is not prophecy. We can slow this down if people practice social distancing. People are not following it as closely as they should, and I think if people were to shelter in place we would see a flattening of the curve. This is science. This is pure mathematics."
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