Florida beach

Video Tracks Cell Phones From A Fort Lauderdale Beach To Show How Far Spring Breakers Could Spread Coronavirus

Nathan Francis - Author

Mar. 27 2020, Updated 4:58 p.m. ET

Earlier this month, thousands of college students showed up on Florida beaches for spring break trips, some of them after the novel coronavirus started to spread rapidly across the country. That prompted local governments to shut down all public events.

Now, a new video analyzes just how far spring breakers could have spread the virus after leaving Florida and returning home. The mobile technology company X-Mode collected data on mobile devices from just one beach in Fort Lauderdale, feeding the data into a mapping platform called Tectonix to analyze movements and the potential spread of COVID-19.

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The company posted a video on Twitter showing that one gathering on a single day during spring break had the potential of taking the virus to nearly all corners of the U.S. The analysis tracked the cell phone devices to a number of major hubs across the country, where the beachgoers from that day would have come into contact with millions of people.

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There have already been a number of reported cases of spring breakers testing positive for the novel coronavirus. As The Inquisitr reported, six college students from the University of Tampa tested positive for coronavirus after returning home from spring break trips. This led to some criticism of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who ordered bars and restaurants in the state to close, but held off in closing down the state’s beaches.

Experts have recommended that residents across the U.S. practice social distancing, avoiding all group settings and remaining in their homes as much as possible in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Without social distancing, the fast-spreading virus would infect a large number of people at the same time, overwhelming hospital systems and potentially leading to more than 1 million deaths in the U.S.

Some have predicted that some level of social distancing will need to remain in place for several months, until a vaccine is completed. Some have pushed back, continuing to gather in group settings and going on trips, like the mostly college students who came to Florida for spring break trips.

The same kind of tracking technology showcased by X-Mode could soon be used to actually track the spread of the virus. As Newsweek reported, the federal government had been in discussions with Google, Facebook, and other tech firms about ways to use cell phone location data to track the movement of people within the U.S. during the coronavirus outbreak.


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