Sunday, May 3, 2020

They cried "Wolf!"



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The latest weekly update of aggregated travel patterns Google collected from its users' phones pointed to increased disobedience with lockdown orders in place since March but rising compliance with those issued last month. ⁣ ⁣The data, posted online by the Alphabet Inc. unit late on Thursday, compared daily traffic to retail and recreational venues, parks, train and bus stations, grocery stores and workplaces with a five-week period from Jan. 3 to Feb. 6. ⁣ ⁣U.S. authorities warned against returning to normal too soon, but Google's data showed traffic to workplaces was creeping back up. It was down just 48 percent from the baseline by last Friday after being down 56 percent on April 10. Southern and Midwestern states were leading the way in the resumption of more typical patterns. ⁣ ⁣Nationwide travel to retail and recreation sites was down 63 percent on April 12, but was down just 42 percent two weeks later. ⁣ ⁣Epidemiologists had expected fatigue with U.S. lockdowns, with concerns escalating as weather warmed and people protested against shelter-in-place orders. Infection rates have stabilized in some regions, prompting governors over the last week to ease lockdowns.

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Transportation Security Administration screened a record number of flight passengers Thursday since federal and state government issued travel restrictions in its efforts to contain the novel coronavirus. ⁣ ⁣TSA screened 154,080 people on March 30; that number was on a steady decline, reaching a low point of 87,534 passengers on April 14, after the State Department issued a Level 4 travel advisory on March 19 urging Americans not to travel abroad under any circumstances. States also started implementing stay-at-home policies starting around mid-March. ⁣ ⁣That changed this week when TSA counted a total of 154,695 passengers on Thursday. The number is still drastically low compared to the nearly 2.5 million passengers the Administration screened on the same day last year, but it does highlight a change in traveler behavior as states begin to ease coronavirus restrictions and the U.S. steps up testing.

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