Tracking cell phone movement is helping researchers predict COVID cases, hospitalizations

  • Source: WTSP-TV CBS 10 Tampa
  • Published: 08/06/2020 12:00 AM

Using anonymous cell phone data, University of South Florida researchers are pinpointing how and where people in the Bay area move to try to predict how the coronavirus will spread and impact our hospitals. The data is collected by a third-party vendor from devices on which users have enabled location services. Researchers have no access to any personally identifiable information. Dr. Matthew Mullarkey and his team at USF’s Muma College of Business have—predictably—watched mobile device movement in our region consistently grow since reopening began. But distance alone doesn’t tell the whole story. It’s also about how many different places people are going—and staying for a while—and how many other people are also at those places, according to Mullarkey, who leads the Project ASPeCT study.


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