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Mobile data shows which European countries took lockdown seriously (theconversation.com)
24 points by zeristor 6 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 22 comments

> Germany’s park visit data is further evidence that lockdown measures do not fully determine behaviour, and that people have their own motives.

I find the graphs without much meaning. I live in Germany and we didn't have a strict lockdown where you would get a fine for doing non-essential outside activity. In April cultural and fitness were closed. Therefore the only way to do something is to go outside.

The interesting thing would be to understand how many other people you were meeting with which I would think that data does not provide. I mean Google likely has that data but didn't anonymize it in order to release it.

Meeting more people than allowed and not covering your mouth and nose is something that was spot checked and still is.

The colors in these charts are a color-blinds nightmare...

Even for non color blinds...

In countries such as Spain, it is very easy to understand why the country took the lockdown so seriously. For most people, it was easy to choose to stay home when the alternative was to get fined by police, who thoughtfully were patrolling the streets looking for dodgers.

More than a million people were fined by police during the spring [1]. So many fines, that we are still seeing news about judges taking decissions on these fines, so it clearly overloaded our justice system. Surprisingly, many of them are being rejected by judges because of not being fair.

Police officers can fine you if they believe you are infringing the law, and civils have to take their word as granted until a judge makes the final decission. People were fined in the spring for things such as driving to pick up groceries in a store different than the one closest to their homes [2], or because of walking the dog (one of the very few exceptions to leave the house) "too far from home", despite the law having never settled an official maximum distance [3].

[1]: https://en.as.com/en/2020/05/20/other_sports/1590007192_2854... [2]: https://www.niusdiario.es/nacional/tribunales/justicia-claro... [3]: https://diariolaley.laleynext.es/dll/2020/10/29/se-anula-la-...

For those who understand lockdowns to have worked, what would you say is the strongest evidence you've seen? I've always been of the opinion they would make a difference but not be worth the cost, but I'm growing more inclined to believe they may not have even made a difference. Germany despite being the oldest EU country appears to be much closer to Sweden in terms of mobility change yet early on they were among the best performing countries.

I think France, Italy and Spain data is pretty convincing. If you know anybody near Colmar or Bergame or working in any hospital around there, lockdowns (decided by the state or not) were more than necessary. Maybe not nation-wide, sure, i think this could have been a mistake, but smaller than doing nothing.

I've already said that, but my cousin (emergency care) in Colmar was sending his "best" patients in army planes to another cousin working in Brittany (reanimation). He worked 12 to 14 hours a day, for 45 days straight. That was one hotspot, and Colmar was hit a bit less than Bergame, i'm pretty sure any italian having familly there would have many more horror story than i have. At least they didn't have to select patients in Colmar (well, not as much).

Australia/Victoria. Long, strict lockdown, with separation into metro area and regional rules. It brought the cases down to 0 for a month (now single cases are acquired from NSW, but that's a separate story).

I'm not sure if the difference from the European countries is in people complying or with good implementation (clear, short rules). Either way, spread inside the city (so the island / sparse pop arguments are irrelevant) has been eliminated.

The difference in rules simplicity and exclusions is visible. Compare for example official rules for UK's level 3 only https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-3-very-high-alert with Victoria's 3 steps all together on this page https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/3-step-fram...

Indeed, Victoria was recording 700 cases per day in August. Lockdowns are painful, sure, but there can be no doubt they work. The more you lock down, the more painful it will be, but the quicker you'll slow the spread.

I'm in Sweden at the moment and I've essentially locked myself down, even though its not legally required.

The evidence is that the curve of new cases/hospitalizations comes down a few weeks after each lockdown is called. This seems to happen multiple times from the curves I've seen in various newspapers.

In that sense, it "works". Whether it's worth the cost is another issue, but it does sound like certain hospitals were filling up rapidly.

Lockdowns are a last measure only to apply if all others fail. If Germany was amongst the best performing countries that probably means their other measures were working and that there was no need for a lockdown.

The strongest evidence I've seen is China. It was the center of this pandemic and now the virus there is basically gone. Sure they lie about their numbers and there probably some community spread here and there but there's no way they are completely hiding a pandemic.

It is horrible to follow the lines in the plots when they are so thin and colors are nightmare.

Not just that. The colour assigned to a country changes between graphs, which is quite weird?

This “data” is missing well over half of europe. Why.

Because some countries have reasonable doubts about this type of data collection considering people’s privacy and or do not publish this data.

Thanks for the clarification - I thought it might be the usual exclusion of central and eastern european nations, despite data being collected by google.

I'm sure it's the usual ignoring of Eastern Europe.

Google publish data for everywhere. (At least, I see Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia... )


I know, I was being sarcastic. This article should be flagged as it has no scientific meaning in the context of ... “European countries” as it ignores quite a chunk of data.

Google has information via Google Location Services. Have they stopped publishing public stats?

We currently get out home broadband via cellular, so I guess the data has a possible skew in certain areas. I know we are not the only ones who do it that way.

It's derived from Google and Apple's tracking of phone location. They know exactly where your home is, where you work, and with a map can see when you go to a park or a shop.

This is app tracking, but Google and Apple have more direct access : https://nrkbeta.no/2020/12/03/my-phone-was-spying-on-me-so-i...

Your article does not contain the word Apple.

Google does this kind of tracking. Apple uses a periodically changing id that is not associated with your person.

If you have an iPhone Apple probably knows where you live because you told them, but not because you use Apple Maps or GPS on their devices.

I believe there's also a big difference between age groups and their mobile phone usage

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