Americans in nearly 2,000 counties social distanced less during Thanksgiving week

Americans in nearly 2,000 counties social distanced less during Thanksgiving week

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned on Sunday that holiday travel could worsen the virus’s spread. On NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” Fauci said that officials this month expect to see “a surge superimposed on the surge we are already in.”

Eric Ascher, a family medicine physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said even with the dire warnings, the public appears to be planning to travel in greater numbers since the pandemic began.

“I’ve got a lot more people coming into the office requesting tests because they’ve got travel plans and family plans,” Ascher said.

That increase is worrisome, Ascher said, because a single negative test does not mean an individual is free from or immune to the virus. In fact, people in the earliest stages of infection might still test negative.

“This is not the time to lapse your social distancing,” Ascher warned. “Now, too many people are becoming a little bit comfortable expanding their social circles. This is not the time to feel that comfort.”

Methodology

Cuebiq collects location data from a panel of about 15 million devices through mobile apps. Cuebiq collects location data only from opted-in devices whose users have agreed to share their anonymous location data with Cuebiq in apps such as GasBuddy & MyRadar. Cuebiq analyzes anonymous and aggregated data at the county level to determine a device’s home area, where a particular device spends a significant amount of time, particularly in the evening. Its assessment of whether two devices come close to each other is based on checking the location data to see whether a device is within 50 feet of any other device within five minutes.

Nigel Chiwaya

Nigel Chiwaya is a deputy data editor for NBC News.

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