On Thursday, April 2, The New York Times published a story that collated anonymous cell phone data from a data analytics firm to determine where in the United States people were still traveling the most during the coronavirus crisis – and Guilford County showed up near the top of the list.
In calmer times, that might be just an interesting piece of trivia. However, as The Times points out, average distance traveled each day is a fairly good indicator of the rate at which people are interacting with other people – despite orders in many places, including Guilford County, to stay at home unless a trip is absolutely necessary.
The Times used information gathered from Cuebiq, a data collection firm that looked at data from every county in the United States. Compiling the data from around the country created the list of places “Where people were still traveling the most on Friday [March 27].”
Guilford County is 4th on the list that no one wants to be at the top of in these days when staying home is the smart thing to do. Guilford County followed number one Greenville County, South Carolina, number two Jefferson County, Alabama and number three Duval County, Florida. On Friday, March 27, those were the only four counties where travel still averaged over three miles a day.
Greenville County drivers averaged 3.4 miles that day and Jefferson County came in at 3.1 miles. Both Duval County and Guilford County came in right at 3 miles of travel.
The Times article points out that not all travel is necessarily problematic, “But broadly higher levels of travel suggest more contact with others and more chances to spread or contract the disease, researchers said,” the article stated. “Counties with lax travel policies risk not only becoming the next hot spots of the disease, but also acting as reservoirs for the virus that reignite infection in places that have tamped it down, they said.”