'Movement Map' shows social distancing under Safer at Home order

The Movement Map shows which counties are practicing social distancing.
The Movement Map shows which counties are practicing social distancing.(NBC15)
Published: Apr. 14, 2020 at 11:22 PM CDT
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Weeks into Wisconsin’s Safer at Home order, a movement map shows which counties are practicing social distancing.

created by the GeoDS Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, tracks the movement of Americans, using anonymous location data from cell phones.

Song Gao, creator of the map, said that most Wisconsinites are staying in place, a drop from “normal” movement patterns before the pandemic swept through the United States. A look at the map shows most counties across the nation have also decreased movement.

“We found that even before the 25th, [when the Safer at Home order went into effect] people from many [Wisconsin] counties voluntarily reacted to social distancing,” Gao said.

But Gao also pointed to a significant increase in movement on Wisconsin’s April 7 primary day—in Waukesha, Lafayette, Juneau and Rock counties.

Gao left it to state officials to give the numbers meaning.

On Monday, Governor Tony Evers said in a press conference, “We're starting to see Wisconsin flattening the curve, which means that ‘Safer at Home’ is working.”

Dr. Ryan Westergaard, chief medical officer at the Department of Health Services, said caution in the coming weeks is necessary.

“We've flattened the curve, but we haven't smashed the curve down to nothing,” he said. “There's still people with the infection in the community that we don't know about, so we need to be very careful, make sure we have all the resources in place as times goes on.”

The Safer at Home order is currently in effect until April 24.