Cell Phone Data Shows Americans Are Leaving Their Homes More Now

New data from researchers show that Americans are starting to venture out of their homes more for the first time since the stay-at-home orders were put in place in mid-March, despite experts still encouraging Americans to practice social distancing.

Lei Zhang, director of the Maryland Transportation Institute at the University of Maryland, and other researchers were able to find out about this by tracking smartphone date of more than 100 million people.

For the first six weeks of quarantine, the percentage of people who stayed home, meaning their phones moved less than a mile each day - stay the same.

One of the record high days of people staying home was Easter Sunday. However by April 14, a day before thousands protested quarantine measures at Michigan's capitol, data suggested that people were starting to leave their homes.

After "almost two weeks, it has been consistently dropping across the country," Zhang said. "Now for many states the level of their social distancing right now is about the same as the week of March 20th."

"This is an early indication that we need to follow in the days and weeks to come of people having a fatigue," Thomas Walle, CEO of Norwegian company Unacast which collects and analyzes location data from various sources, said. "You can definitely see that there's starting to be a little trend here that people are more outside and less at home."

Zhang also attributes the warm weather to be a reason why people are feeling more incline to leave their homes now, There is also a false sense of security that the curve is flattening and that discussion of various states reopening their economy. He believes that this along with the need to get back to work is why others aren't listening to social distancing guidelines,

"For a lot of us there is some quarantine fatigue, but for others maybe it's more for economic reality kicking in," he said.

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Photo: Getty Images

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