This morning, a video featuring how quickly COVID-19 can spread through tracking of cell phone locations went viral.
Millennials and Gen Z’ers have faced serious backlash for continuing to go on their lavish spring break vacations in the midst of this national health crisis, as they have selfishly put others in danger in the name of having a good time themselves. Social distancing has been a hard concept for many young people to grasp, particularly Gen Z’ers and millennials.
There has been a notorious gap in the time it’s taken for each age demographic to realize the severity of this pandemic and halt daily social activities.
While news outlets reported that older people quickly understood the government’s message to limit interactions with others and began to self quarantine over the past few weeks, young people have been increasingly criticized for continuing to go about their daily lives and attend social gatherings.
In particular, Florida beaches have been ridden with spring breakers as if nothing is wrong. CBS News reported:
The poster child for these selfish ‘covidiots’—who will statistically survive coronavirus—was a spring breaker from Ohio named Bradley Sluder, who told CBS News: “If I get corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, I’m not gonna let it stop me from partying,” adding that “We’re just out here having a good time. Whatever happens, happens.”
“If I get corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, I'm not gonna let it stop me from partying”: Spring breakers are still flocking to Miami, despite coronavirus warnings. https://t.co/KoYKI8zNDH pic.twitter.com/rfPfea1LrC
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 18, 2020
In order to try and knock some sense into those who underestimate the severity of the virus and just how quickly it can spread, a company called Tectonix tracked cell phone location data through spring break as everyone returned to their hometowns.
Tampa researchers say that the data has three important takeaways: “One: This is just one beach, in one small part of the country. The same companies also released a graphic for New York, which is much much worse.
Two: Social distancing works and is insanely important. Had these spring breakers, and others across the country, actually cared in the beginning of this outbreak we wouldn’t have to endure countless apology posts.
Three: Your cellphone gives off a ton of data, and while this type of data isn’t specifically inked to your identity, it’s incredibly easy for anyone to “re-identify” people to their phones”.
Ignoring social distancing protocol has dangerous national implications.
When a group thinks they are immune from the virus and that the rules don’t apply to them, they are knowingly spreading the virus to hundreds of others, with some of those cases likely resulting in deaths.
In these dire times, each and every one of us has to do our parts to stay home, and this will help life return to some sense of normalcy as quickly as possible.
This kind of data is obviously incredibly useful and has a wide-range of applications. But while the data used is "anonymized," meaning it is not linked to the phone's owner, researchers have found that it is incredibly easy to link the two. https://t.co/UmMej1ZKui
— Mikael Thalen (@MikaelThalen) March 26, 2020
The video can be found here!