Google graphs on the movements of coronaviruses in the counties of Houston and Texas

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Federal, state and local authorities urge people across the country to stay at home and practice social distance in order to smooth the curve of the new coronavirus, but how many people actually follow the instructions?

A new Google report answers this vital question. Google recently launched community mobility reports that track trends over time in categories such as retail, workplaces and residential areas in counties across the country to show where people are tracking directives and, ultimately, outline where more public advice is needed.

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Reports compare the most recent available data to a median benchmark for the corresponding day of the week for a period of five weeks from January 3 to February 6, before cases start to increase significantly. The data is not concrete because it only shows users who have enabled the location history setting for their Google Account.

In Harris County, the largest decrease in movement patterns was seen at transit stations, which saw a 58% drop. Of the top 10 counties in the Houston area, Chambers and Waller counties recorded the largest increase in the number of people staying at home, with an increase of 20%. Brazoria County was the only surrounding county that experienced an increase in mobility trends in local parks with an increase of 9%, according to the data.

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“We hope these reports will help make decisions on how to manage the COVID-19 pandemic,” Google Health officials said on an April 3 blog. “At the end of the day, understanding not only if people are traveling, but also the trends in destinations, can help policy makers design directions to protect public health and the basic needs of communities. “

Reports show trends in 131 counties and regions and will be updated in the coming weeks.

Click on the photos above for an overview of the mobility trends in the counties of Houston and Texas during the pandemic…

Rebecca Hennes covers community news. Read it on our news site, Chron.com, and on our subscriber site, houstonchronicle.com. | [email protected]

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