Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins Taps Twitter to Measure Success of Social Distancing

6-Apr-2020 4:50 PM EDT, by Johns Hopkins University

Newswise — By comparing Twitter data from before and after the COVID-19 outbreak, Johns Hopkins University researchers found a profound impact on the movement of Americans – indicating social distancing recommendations are having an effect.

A team lead by computer scientist Mark Dredze created the Twitter Social Mobility Index by measuring public geotagged data from Twitter, tweets to which users attach their current location, from March 16 to March 29 and compared it to similar data from Jan. 1, 2019 to March 16, 2020. They found that movement of Americans during the COVID-19 outbreak dropped significantly — to just 52% percent of what it had been. In some states, people’s movement did not change as much but in others, particularly those with firm social distancing measures in place, the reductions were much more dramatic.

Since the pandemic, municipalities, states and the federal government have initiated directives to limit travel, stay home and distance ourselves to flatten the curve and slow the spread of the virus.

“The question though is how effective are these policies? Once you tell people to stay home, it doesn’t mean everyone listens,” Dredze said. “It’s important for us to understand on an ongoing basis if people are actually listening to these directives. But how do you know people are staying put? We’re trying to find ways to do this that are efficient and timely.”

Dredze and Paiheng Xu, a master’s student in Computer Science, studied Twitter location data, information collected when people tag Tweets with a location or when they check in at locations like restaurants, shopping centers, offices and parks. About 3% of all tweets in the United States include this data, so it’s a massive amount of information over time. Their analysis examined 3.7 million users with almost 400 million tweets. 

They found people’s movement in the U.S. dropped by half since the outbreak started, with large reductions seen throughout the country. In Maryland, a state with strong social distancing measures, people were traveling just 43% percent of what they had been before the pandemic.

When ranking reductions in social mobility among all the states, Maryland ranked 5th (out of 51). The District of Columbia was 1st and  Virginia was 16th. In contrast, states without statewide orders ranked low on the list: Arkansas (37th), Iowa (48nd), Nebraska (29th), North Dakota (13th), South Carolina (34th), South Dakota (39th), Oklahoma (50th), Utah (17th), Wyoming (51st). (Full list of state rankings available here.)

Looking at each week for the past 15 months, the last two weeks have the lowest Social Mobility Index since tracking began.

This work is related to similar efforts by Google and others in making data available on social mobility. “A key advantage in our analysis is that the underlying Twitter data is publicly available, so others can study additional aspects of social distancing” said David Broniatowski, a study team member and associate professor of engineering management and systems engineering at George Washington University.

The full results of the study are available here: http://socialmobility.covid19dataresources.org/ The team plans to continue the study and update the results in coming weeks and months.

“We want to continue to track this to see if people’s movement will continue to drop or if people will people get fed up with staying home and start moving around again,” Dredze said. “Understanding these behaviors will be important for decision-makers and public health researchers.”

 




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 1993
Released: 29-May-2020 6:50 AM EDT
Those with IDD more likely to die from COVID-19, study shows
Syracuse University

A new study published recently in ScienceDirect by researchers from Syracuse University and SUNY Upstate Medical University shows that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are more likely to die from COVID-19 than those without IDD.

Newswise: Invention by a Finnish start-up speeds up coronavirus testing
Released: 29-May-2020 6:25 AM EDT
Invention by a Finnish start-up speeds up coronavirus testing
Aalto University

An Aalto University spinoff company has come up with a way to use existing lab microscopes in a completely new and much more effective way with their innovation of nanocoated glass. While this is very relevant to covid19 research, it holds great promise for many other viruses and diseases

Newswise: Tourism: what’s our new normal?
Released: 29-May-2020 6:20 AM EDT
Tourism: what’s our new normal?
University of South Australia

After months of lockdown, it’s no surprise that people are itching to get out and about. But with ongoing debates about how and when to open Australia’s state and territory borders, it’s hard to know what to expect.

Newswise: Calibrated approach to AI and deep learning models could more reliably diagnose and treat disease
Released: 29-May-2020 6:05 AM EDT
Calibrated approach to AI and deep learning models could more reliably diagnose and treat disease
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

In a recent preprint (available through Cornell University’s open access website arXiv), a team led by a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory computer scientist proposes a novel deep learning approach aimed at improving the reliability of classifier models designed for predicting disease types from diagnostic images, with an additional goal of enabling interpretability by a medical expert without sacrificing accuracy. The approach uses a concept called confidence calibration, which systematically adjusts the model’s predictions to match the human expert’s expectations in the real world.

Newswise: Researchers Develop Experimental Rapid COVID-19 Test Using Innovative Nanoparticle Technique
Released: 28-May-2020 6:35 PM EDT
Researchers Develop Experimental Rapid COVID-19 Test Using Innovative Nanoparticle Technique
University of Maryland Medical Center

Scientists from the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) developed an experimental diagnostic test for COVID-19 that can visually detect the presence of the virus in 10 minutes. It uses a simple assay containing plasmonic gold nanoparticles to detect a color change when the virus is present. The test does not require the use of any advanced laboratory techniques, such as those commonly used to amplify DNA, for analysis. The authors published their work last week in the American Chemical Society’s nanotechnology journal ACS Nano.

Released: 28-May-2020 6:05 PM EDT
Tackling airborne transmission of COVID-19 indoors
University of Surrey

Preventing airborne transmission of Covid-19 should be the next front of the battle against the virus, argue experts from the University of Surrey.

access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 1-Jun-2020 11:00 AM EDT Released to reporters: 28-May-2020 5:40 PM EDT

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 1-Jun-2020 11:00 AM EDT The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

Released: 28-May-2020 5:10 PM EDT
Mental health outcomes among health care workers during COVID-19 pandemic in Italy
JAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association

Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and insomnia among health care workers in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic are reported in this observational study.

Newswise: fimmu-11-01208-g001.jpg
Released: 28-May-2020 4:45 PM EDT
Genetics May Explain High COVID-19 Mortality in Italy, Inform Global Pandemic Response
Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO)

On March 11th 2020 the World Health Organization declared Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) a pandemic.

Released: 28-May-2020 3:55 PM EDT
Finding working capital is key to small businesses efforts as reopening accelerates
RAND Corporation

As small businesses reopen after a lengthy pandemic shutdown, one key challenge will be finding working capital to replenish inventories and pay employees until revenue returns to normal, according to a new RAND Corporation perspective based on interviews with a select group of small business owners.


Showing results

110 of 1993

close
0.87584