If you want to see just how communicable SARS-CoV-2 is, look no further than a new – and alarming – heat map.
Tectonix, a geospatial data visualization platform, worked with location company X-Mode Social to create a map that “shows the impact of ignoring social distancing restrictions,” Fox News reports.
“Focusing on just one group of spring break revelers on part of one beach in mid-March when they left Fort Lauderdale, Fla., it quickly becomes obvious that the thousands of people who were at the beach ended up all over the country – in the Midwest, the Northeast, and other parts of the South.”
Watch the spread below.
Want to see the true potential impact of ignoring social distancing? Through a partnership with @xmodesocial, we analyzed secondary locations of anonymized mobile devices that were active at a single Ft. Lauderdale beach during spring break. This is where they went across the US: pic.twitter.com/3A3ePn9Vin
— Tectonix GEO (@TectonixGEO) March 25, 2020
X-Mode made similar heatmaps for Italy.
COVID-19 was first detected in Italy on February 21st, and by March 8th all 60 million residents of the country were placed on lockdown. Despite this and other security measures, the virus’ toll has been devasating, particularly in the country’s north; Italy has seen over 3,400 deaths, more than any other country in the world. On March 19th, 475 patients died in the highest single-day death toll from any country.
Similar to the images we created of the outbreak in China, the heat maps above were constructed using data pulled from devices in Rome moving at low speeds. As can be clearly seen, the trend is the reverse of what we see in Shanghai. Between February 15th and March 18th, the amount of people moving in “normal” social patterns went down by over 80%. The drop is particularly drastic after a mandatory lockdown of numerous cities at the beginning of March, showing that people appear to be following government guidelines.
But the spread has been anomalous. Italy has about 60 million residents. Japan has more than 125 million. Yet the coronavirus COVID-19 has ripped through Italy, with more than 92,000 confirmed cases and 10,000 deaths by Saturday, while Japan has just 1,500 cases and 49 deaths, according to the latest numbers from the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering.
There are other cases of rapid containment of the virus as well. South Korea, with some 55 million people, somehow cut COVID-19 off before it got rolling. The death rate there is just 0.9% compared with nearly 8% in Italy. And Hong Kong, a city of 8 million, has also seen low numbers.
Some experts put the stunning differences down to testing. “South Korea has been conducting around 12,000-15,000 tests every day, and has the capacity to do 20,000 daily,” Time reported. “While it is hard to get accurate estimates, the CDC reports that only around 25,000 tests have been conducted in total nationwide by CDC or public health labs in the U.S. – compare this with the roughly 250,000 tests that South Korea has done to date.”
Then again, testing, despite what the mainstream media in the U.S. say, might not be a solution to flattening the curve. Japan has not conducted extensive testing for COVID-19 on its citizens. South Korea has done nearly 5,600 tests per million residents – third most in the world, according to ourworldindata.com – while Japan has done just 130 per million, putting the country in 21st place. Italy, meanwhile, is sixth at roughly 2,500 per million, while Hong Kong comes in 14th at about 700 per million.