A CLOSER LOOK: The COVID-19 “quarantine fatigue”

A Closer Look

Study shows a high correlation between external trips from out-of-state and local outbreaks

ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — Across the country many people hit the outdoors, in spite of some states that have a “shelter-in-place” order because of COVID-19.

In Arkansas, one of seven states that does not have the “shelter-in-place” requirement, many people were outdoors at lakes, riding the bike trails, others went on walks or runs and enjoyed the nice weather.

Irrespective of the nice weather, many people would have been outdoors anyway after weeks of staying at home, the new report has been dubbed “quarantine fatigue,” by many people.

Bikers, walkers, skaters and surfers crowd a paved trail along the beach Sunday, April 26, 2020, in Huntington Beach, CA. A heat wave lured people to California beaches, rivers and trails, prompting warnings from officials that defiance of stay-at-home orders could reverse progress and bring the coronavirus surging back. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Maryland Transportation Institute (MTI) Dr. Lei Zhang, who leads the project at the University of Maryland said, “Our goal is to not only produce new and compelling data, but to truly inform and support decision-makers with the best available data and interactive analysis tools.”

When Zhang and other colleagues looked at the national data they found:

  • People staying at home increased from 20% to 35% in mid-March — at the onset of COVID-19
  • People staying at home stagnated at 35% three weeks — with COVID-19 cases increasing

The bottom line is that many Americans are not following physical distancing guidelines issued by authorities in an effort to slow the spread of the pandemic.

Zhang tells KNWA/FOX24 the team found that social distancing works in reducing infection rates and new COVID cases. “We also saw high correlation between external trips from out-of-state and local outbreaks.” He added that he hopes more people have an incentive to stay at home and limit travel to essential purposes only.

Information from this research project with be added to healthcare data, socio-demographic data, unemployment numbers, and business establishment data. The gist is to understand how COVID-19 affects society and how to create and put into place policies on social distancing, economic stimulus and protect vulnerable populations.

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