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Phone data shows that Michigan is very good at social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic


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You deserve a six-feet-apart air high-five, Michigan. You're killing the social distancing game, according to your phone data.

New York and Norway-based data and analytics company Unacast revealed the findings of its “Social Distancing Scoreboard,” which shows just how good — or bad — of a job some states are doing at navigating this whole staying the hell away from people thing amid a global pandemic mess.

OK, OK, but how did Unacast get this data exactly? According to The Detroit Free Press, they use “anonymous device location data, map data, and strategic intelligence.” But for this data specifically, they turned to public data sets like location information provided through third-parties. In other words, all that verbiage you skip through and agree to when you download a game or photo app on your phone? That often is sold to third parties for purposes like this.

First reported by The Washington Post on Tuesday, the interactive map and graphing reveal that Alaska, District of Columbia, Nevada, New Jersey, and Rhode Island join Michigan as being among those states that earned A ratings.

States that could be better at staying home and away? Oregon and New Mexico, both of which have C scores. Idaho and Montana are dropping the ball with Ds, and Wyoming is straight-up failing at social distancing. Tsk-tsk.

A closer local look shows that Oakland, Livingston, Luce, and Kalamazoo Counties are top of their class, doing a banging job with glowing A ratings when it comes to reducing travel. Meanwhile, Mackinac and Houghton are among the bottom five Michigan counties, both of which are failing.

Wayne County decreased distance traveled by 44%, and Macomb saw a 51% decrease, with Oakland leading the pack with a 55% decrease.

This data follows Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's executive order calling for Michigan residents and non-essential businesses to stay at home for the next three weeks. Michigan began to see a dramatic downturn in travel starting on March 21 when Michigan's coronavirus cases increased to 787.

As of Tuesday, Michigan reported 1,791 positive cases of coronavirus and 24 people have died.

Keep up the good work, Michigan. You can do this.

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