Study of Cellphone Data Shows How Anti-Lockdown Protesters Spread Coronavirus


A study conducted by the progressive campaign group the Committee to Protect Medicare suggests demonstrators at anti-lockdown protests have spread the novel coronavirus. The information was gathered from anonymized location data from opt-in cellphone apps.

According to The Guardian, with whom the organization shared its data, “data scientists at the firm VoteMap used it to determine the movements of devices present at protests in late April and early May in five states: Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Colorado and Florida.”

“They then created visualizations that tracked the movements of those devices up to 48 hours after the conclusion of protests,” the outlet continued. “The visualizations only show movements within states, due to the queries analysts made in creating them. But the data scientist Jeremy Fair, executive-vice president of VoteMap, says that many of the devices that are seen to reach state borders are seen to continue across them in the underlying raw data.”

Dr. Rob Davidson, executive director of the Committee to Protect Medicare, says “it’s hard to draw a straight line between devices, individuals at these protests, and cases” but the data does suggest a link. “The behavior we’re seeing at protests carries a high risk of infection. We can see protesters are going from a highly concentrated event and then dispersing widely.”

President Donald Trump and his associates have continued to campaign more aggressively for states to reopen their respective economies.

“The fact of the matter is, and what President Trump realized early on, is that if you lock people down, you may save lives directly from the China virus [coronavirus]. But you indirectly, you’re going to kill a lot more people,” White House economic adviser Peter Navarro claimed on NBC’s “Meet the Press” yesterday.

“And why do I say that? We know statistically based on our experience with the China trade shock in the 2000s that unemployment creates more suicides, depression and drug abuse,” he added. “But we also know this in this crisis, as we’ve basically locked down our hospitals for everything but COVID, women haven’t been getting mammograms or cervical examinations for cancer. We haven’t been able to do other procedures for the heart or the kidneys. And that’s going to kill people as well.”

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