Spring Break vs. COVID-19: Mapping the Real Impact of Ignoring Social Distancing

Yes­ter­day, the Unit­ed States sur­passed Chi­na, becom­ing the world leader in COVID-19 infec­tions. It’s not hard to under­stand why. Social dis­tanc­ing remains very uneven. Domes­tic trav­el con­tin­ues unchecked. Asymp­to­matic car­ri­ers stay on the move. Start­ing on the coasts, COVID-19 is now mov­ing inex­orably across the nation, com­ing to a city or town near you.

If you want to get a glimpse of how COVID-19 can spread, watch this clip from Tec­tonix GEO. It uses data from anonymized mobile devices to trace the move­ment of Spring Break partiers who con­gre­gat­ed at one sin­gle Ft. Laud­erdale beach, then moved back across the Unit­ed States, in each case poten­tial­ly bring­ing the virus with them. It’s a quick case study show­ing how an infec­tious dis­ease can spread through a coun­try that wants to remain mobile come hell, pan­dem­ic, or high water.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Use Your Time in Iso­la­tion to Learn Every­thing You’ve Always Want­ed To: Free Online Cours­es, Audio Books, eBooks, Movies, Col­or­ing Books & More

How a Virus Spreads, and How to Avoid It: A For­mer NASA Engi­neer Demon­strates with a Black­light in a Class­room

Inter­ac­tive Web Site Tracks the Glob­al Spread of the Coro­n­avirus: Cre­at­ed and Sup­port­ed by Johns Hop­kins

Free Cours­es on the Coro­n­avirus: What You Need to Know About the Emerg­ing Pan­dem­ic

Watch Bac­te­ria Become Resis­tant to Antibi­otics in a Mat­ter of Days: A Quick, Stop-Motion Film

The His­to­ry of the Plague: Every Major Epi­dem­ic in an Ani­mat­ed Map

by | Permalink | Comments (15) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (15)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • Rick says:

    This arti­cle isn’t as claimed to “show how an infec­tious dis­ease can spread”. The data they use for illus­tra­tion could just as well illus­trate how cell phone sig­nals can be mon­i­tored and pub­li­cized with­out implied con­sent by their owner/users. The main thrust of the arti­cle is a crit­i­cism of young grad­u­at­ing Amer­i­can behav­ior specif­i­cal­ly, and a jab at Amer­i­can psy­che in gen­er­al.

  • Tom M says:

    More infec­tions than Chi­na.… rii­i­i­i­ight.

  • Guy says:

    👏🏼👏🏼 — I expect­ed bet­ter from “Open Cul­ture.” But if you’re not shar­ing “FEAR! DOOM! DEATH! ANXIETY! THE END IS NIGH!! REPEEEEENNNT!!!! COVID-19!!” con­tent now, well you’re just doing it all wrong…

  • Raymond Hutfles says:

    Hate to tell you this Tom but that is cor­rect. Chi­na’s rate has been decreas­ing while the U.S. is still expand­ing.

  • Brion23 says:

    Wow! What would be the right way Gary? Appar­ent­ly the first three posters have an agen­da that will lead to more deaths. Trump=Death, GOP=Death. Thank you OC for the hon­est and cor­rect post!

  • W.O. Brisco says:

    And you believe Chi­na’s self-report­ed num­bers because.…????

  • Ches says:

    That was my thought — where are they get­ting this data and how on earth do they have per­mis­sion, even though it may (or may not — we don’t real­ly know for sure) be anony­mous, to obtain and use it?

  • Dave says:

    The WHO has been on the ground in Chi­na since Feb. Clear­ly the offi­cial num­bers from Wuhan were com­plete BS in Dec/Jan but with out­side mon­i­tor­ing and actu­al front-line MDs report­ing, I expect the num­bers from Chi­na are cer­tain­ly *as good as* the num­bers from the USA. Which is to say… ball­park and high­ly impre­cise. With­out 100% test­ing we are still all just guess­ing.

  • Jim says:

    When was the last time you read the TOS for your mobile plan? Pret­ty sure we have all giv­en them per­mis­sion to the data…

  • Victor G. says:

    ” … anonymized mobile devices … ” Whew! I was wor­ried for a sec­ond there!

    Nice site but well and deeply infil­trat­ed by the same peo­ple who brought you The Sum­mer of Love.

    Rip it off to the max!

  • Charles H. says:

    Chi­na impris­oned its doc­tors for text mes­sag­ing about COVID. What ABSOLUTE MORON would believe the num­bers they’re putting out now?

    Well, I guess this thread pro­vides the answer.

  • Rene B says:

    Hon­est­ly, I don’t give a rat’s a$$ what Chi­na is doing or say­ing. But I am exhaust­ed with the self-cen­tered nature of today’s youth, the con­tin­u­al lack of will­ing­ness to par­tic­i­pate will­ing­ly in self-quar­an­ti­ning, the petu­lant whin­ing about the hard­ships and the politi­ciz­ing of a pan­dem­ic that just might cause the death of you or your fam­i­ly. I’ve made it to 71 in spite of hip­pies, LSD, Viet­nam, Water­gate, Aids, Mon­i­ca, 911, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, mortgage/securities fraud and now this! I’d dear­ly love to reach 72. So shut the he!! up and stay the fu** at home!

  • Kate says:

    I love you Renee. I’m 65 and under­stand that this is a seri­ous cri­sis but there will always be seri­ous cri­sis. My biggest con­cern is the gen­er­a­tion of pan­dered to and unpre­pared for any­thing that resem­bles respon­si­bil­i­ty is going to be quite a shock­er when the next one hits.

  • brenda says:

    Because Chi­na banned all for­eign jour­nal­ists…

  • Elise Krentzel says:

    As long as peo­ple decide to ignore the warn­ing signs and con­gre­gate in groups of more than 10 actu­al­ly more than five they are at risk and they were at risk of putting any­one else at risk so stay in

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.