Human movement is the touch-paper of global pandemics: navigating location data in uncertainty

April 2020

Human movement is the touch-paper of global pandemics.

Where we go, our viruses go too.

And rampant globalisation enables human movement at a planetary level.

Which is the simple reason why as of today, 181 countries/regions are currently affected by Covid-19.

And it is this very human movement that has ceased at both a global and local level in a bid to minimise the impact.

We’ve all been watching the rolling 24hr coverage of our current history unfolding in real-time.

But the reality of pausing human movement at such scale remains abstract as a concept.

Which is why multiple trusted sources can be relied upon to give us not opinions, but data as evidence.

We believe in No Single Point of Truth in the sphere of location data.

And current Google location data summarises simply and clearly this current extraordinary human pause:

Mobility in cities has drastically declined across the planet.

In the UK, recreation and retail has stopped.

Use of transport has largely halted.

And local movement and grocery shopping has increased.

We already know these things to be true.

But we believe in applying clarity to the abstract, fact to opinion, and evidence to thinking.

Here is Google’s latest Mobility Report to understand location accuracy by UK region.

We’ll be releasing more evidence over the coming days/weeks/months, to help us all navigate this new world of human movement and all its fluctuation and phases.