Mobility rates show pandemic habits, warning for winter

Mobility rates show pandemic habits, warning for winter

MADISON (WKOW) -- As the cooler weather drives people indoors, experts say it likely won't keep people from traveling. Researchers at UW-Madison have been tracking mobility data, to look at behaviors during the pandemic. With coronavirus cases rising, patients are becoming a more and more a common sight in emergency rooms. "It is the rare shift that I get through without seeing a patient who is significantly ill from coronavirus," Dr. Rachel Hughes, an ER doctor with Madison Emergency Physicians, said. She says hospitals have been full for weeks, causing delays on when people can be admitted and how long they have to wait before seeing a doctor. "Some of it is due to the coronavirus and some of it is due to the general cycles of healthcare needs in every season," Dr. Hughes said. Experts say a UW Madison Geography Mobility Study, which uses anonymous, publicly-available cell phone GPS data, clearly showed that people followed stay at home orders. Ever since May, people have been gradually traveling further from home and staying at home less. And it's only going to get worse come the holidays. "Obviously, people are going to travel and then meet with family and friends, have Thanksgiving," Ajay Sethi, with UW Madison Department of Population Health Sciences, said. "In a typical year that's actually when we begin to see escalation of viruses like influenza, but other viruses as well." He says looking at the data it is clear what sort of strategy we need to take. "It's going ...
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