Data shows that more people are venturing outside as states relax their restrictions and as “quarantine fatigue” sets in. Researchers at the University of Maryland tracking smartphone data found that for the first time since stay-at-home measures were put in place in March, people are increasingly leaving their homes.
Data showed the number of people who stayed at home decreased by 2% the week of April 12. Additionally, the number of “personal daily trips” grew by 4% and travel between counties and states also increased.
Though researchers found only a small increase in travel, doing so prematurely despite stay-at-home measures is still risky.
There are a few reasons quarantine fatigue is hitting now. Some states like Georgia and South Carolina have announced they will start reopening businesses and public spaces, and protests to reopen businesses have taken place nationwide. This sends the false message that social distancing is no longer necessary. Additionally, the warmer weather in the U.S. is likely drawing people outside, but there is still a risk of spreading the virus even if you’re not in an enclosed space.
Health experts fear it is too early to end social distancing measures. Social distancing is still the recommended, most effective way to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Until widespread testing and contact tracing are available, social distancing will continue to be essential to public health—even if you are tired of being home all the time.