Day Nineteen of ORCA in Switzerland – TGIF

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Do you have that TGIF feeling like no one else does? In theory today is the day when people are happy, knowing that the weekend is about to start and they can do the things they love for the next two days. In this context though, that is unlikely. We’re meant to stay home.

This weekend is going to be extra special because the temperature is meant to reach 20°c, i.e. summer temperatures and so people will go out like ants on an applecore by the side of the road. If ever a weekend was likely to see a boom of cases next Friday it’s this one. According to the Swiss government people are good at following the rules but I still see examples of inconsiderate behaviour, both by young and not so young people.

Google has come up with the Google COVID-19 Mobility report. You may already be familiar with the discussion centered around how governments are asking telecom operators to provide them with mobile phone information about where and whether people are gathering.

Telecom operators, and application makers already have some information of where we are, where we’re gathering, how often we’re commuting and more. Google is making that data available in reports by countries. As I was curious to see this data I looked up Switzerland and then Geneva and Vaud.

The beauty of this data is that it shows the lag between the time people were told to stay home and when they did. It’s also to see where the peaks for parks, pharmacies and transit were. Last week we read about how the CFF are reducing the number of trains running. Today I was listening to the Don’t Touch Your Face episode discussing “The Airline Industry crashes“.

It’s interesting to think about transportation. Geneva is a city, and for a walker like me everything is within walking distance, if I have enough time. Vaud is larger so people are more used to using the car. This may explain why Vaud has a 68 percent drop in public transport use whereas Geneva has an 84 percent drop. Retail and recreation dropped by almost the same amount.

It’s interesting to compare Greater London with Geneva and Vaud because we see that the curves for transit and retail are more gradual, more rounded. The graphs suggest that Londoners started self-isolating of their own accord, and so when the order was given by the government to do so there was no great change. Of course the timescale is different so this might explain the softer change.

To some degree this pandemic is interesting because of all the data we can collect. Between blogs, instagram feeds, tweets, Facebook updates, mobile phone movements and more we really get a granular look at how the pandemic has affected people’s movements and habits.

During the post-pandemic discussions, studies and reports there will be millions of data points for people to study. Data analysts are going to have fun. So are big-data historians. This is a unique opportunity to see what worked, how long it took to be effective and more.

It’s a shame that Facebook and Twitter are so filled with marketers and PR professionals, rather than conversationalists. We’re going to have to see what remains of individual interactions later.

Do you have any interesting graphs or metrics to share?






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