When states started issuing strict stay-at-home orders this spring, not only did people tend to follow them, but it helped slow the spread of COVID-19. This information is according to a new study published in the journal Jama Network Open.
Using data from more than 45 million cell phones between March 11 and April 10, researchers were able to see how far and how often people traveled each day. The findings highlighted the results in the five states where infections were highest at the time.
"Mobility went down significantly, there was a significant decrease," said Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent. "People stayed at home more, the distance they traveled was far less and you see a significant decrease in COVID transmission as well. So people did abide by the stay-at-home orders."
Dr. Gupta, who was not part of the study, says the research is both promising and also a reminder of what happens if certain steps are not taken soon enough, or are let up too early.
"What they have seen in other studies was had that stay-at-home order gone into effect two weeks earlier, there would likely be about 80% decreased overall viral spread in this country," said Dr. Gupta. "Significant, what we do now will have a much more significant impact, a couple months from now."