Lockdown blues? More people dating

Call it quarantine fatigue or just plain necessity, but far more people across the country are leaving their homes than in the previous month. Visits to supermarkets and medical stores, which decreased by 64% on average during March, only decreased by 47% during April, indicating that consumers were making regular visits to stock up.

Similarly, March had a 65% drop in office attendees, but in April it became 58%. Total park visits, which on average decreased by 53% in March, decreased further to 64% during April, but that is likely due to parks closing rather than people staying away. Points of sale and recreation such as shopping malls and restaurants witnessed a sharp decline for the same reason. In where the Covid case load is lowest, many more went for walks in the park and also made trips to grocery and chemical stores.

The findings are based on national movement data provided in the Google Mobility Report for the same set of days (Wednesday to Sunday; March 25-29 and April 22-26, 2020). The data, which comes from users who have opted for location history, compares daily movement compared to a base of movement for the five-week period between January 3 and February 6.

As the blockades progress, even Americans feel uneasy. Researchers from the Maryland Institute of Transportation (MTI) tracked cell phone data and found that, on average, Americans took more non-work trips, more out-of-state and out-of-county trips, and traveled longer distances.

The Indians began the confinement following orders to stay home. Another study by researchers at the Policy Research Center based on anonymous data from 28 million users with Facebook apps shows that movement across India fell 80% in March. The decline in a city like Mumbai was 80%, the same as the national average, while Delhi experienced a steeper drop of 90%. On March 19, the number of people registered as moving was 3.03 million, while on March 30, the number dropped to 668,719.

The researchers also found that the population in cities had decreased by approximately 11%, while the population in rural areas had increased by 7%. “Due to the blockade, millions of people no longer travel to cities. In that context, the increase in population in rural areas surrounding cities is the result of the abrupt disruption of daily movements to city centers, said Partha Mukhopadhyay, principal investigator and co-author of RCP.

However, some areas experienced an unusual increase in movements towards them, including western Rajasthan, the mountains located in northern Delhi and Odisha (around Bengaluru, Chennai and Madurai), possibly due to migrants returning to their homes.

In (around Bangalore, Chennai and Madurai), there was movement towards the city, as well as an exodus.

The analysis also found that until the end of March, there was no significant population increase in the poorest states, such as Bihar or Uttar Pradesh, which are a great source of migrant workers. Their mobility has been severely restricted and delayed by the closure: railroads and buses stopped, and police interstate highway blockades were in place. This is likely to change in the coming days.