Social distancing is hard on parents, kids and grandparents, but there is good news on the coronavirus front: New data reveals the restrictions and recommendations keeping people apart during the pandemic could be working. As the New York Times reports, new data from a company that makes internet-connected thermometers, Kinsa Health, is “making it clear that social distancing is saving lives.”
Kinsa hosts a map of fever levels across the U.S. to track feverish illness levels across the U.S. Right now the map is suggesting that “due to widespread social distancing, school closures, stay-at-home orders, etc. feverish illness levels are dropping in many regions,” Kinsa notes.
The company adds, “This does not mean that COVID-19 cases are declining. In fact, we expect to see reported cases continue to surge in the near term, but it may indicate these measures are starting to slow the spread.”
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At the beginning of this week, more than three-quarters of the country showed a significant decline in fevers (Kinsa has about 1 million thermometers uploading more than 150,000 temperature readings per day).
The results of early social distancing protocols can be seen when comparing different regions in the U.S. Dr. George Rutherford, an epidemiologist and infectious disease expert at UC San Francisco, tells The Los Angeles Times that early social distancing measures taken in California “happened closer to the introduction of the virus, so you haven’t had as many generations of transmission. So there are fewer cases per capita in the population.”
Rutherford is cautiously optimistic that the Bay Area will not see as many cases as New York because it seems like the early social distancing measures are working (if people keep abiding by them).
Up the coast, Jeff Duchin, Seattle & King County’s Public Health Officer, says “The bottom line here should be that what we’re doing now appears to be working, that we should in no way take these findings as an indication to relax our social distancing strategy, that we need to continue this for weeks.”
It’s a long process and a challenging one—but it’s working, mama.