The COVID-19 outbreak began in China, and people across the world have eagerly followed its progression there for some hint of what to expect when the virus reaches them. For that reason, the path to recovery in China has been of particular interest to observers. If the world’s most populous country can weather this crisis, there may be hope for a worldwide turnaround as well. That turnaround may be already in sight.
Since taking stringent quarantine measures, the number of new cases in the country has subsisted; a story this week from Forbes reported there have been no new cases in mainland China for the first time since the outbreak began. If the government decides to ease its quarantine measures and resume civic life, it will be a test case for the rest of the world.
At X-Mode, we don’t like to take anything at face value — at least not until we’ve seen the data. That’s why we’ve partnered with Tectonix, the Location Intelligence Platform for the Sensor Age, to analyze data from China, and elsewhere around the world, and find the truth. And while we are not able to provide statistics on actual infection rates, we can share what we know based on our location data.
The below images, built on the Tectonix platform and powered by data from X-Mode’s SDK, tell a story about infection and recovery in China. In particular, we pulled locations shared by users in the most densely populated part of Shanghai.
Given the raw data, Tectonix was then tasked with figuring out how to measure social distancing, i.e. whether citizens were isolating themselves or moving amongst each other normally. After some trial and error, they found that the best way to measure this was to filter the data down to devices traveling between 3 and 10 miles per hour. The resulting heat map shows people who are walking, as well as slow-moving vehicles like bikes and scooters.
Note: To reflect changes in movement, each map has been assigned a value on a Movement Index, with 100 being the highest amount of movement recorded. Hover over each map to see this score.