The Power of Pandemic-Relevant Data
Understanding where the hotspots are or could emerge and how pandemic-related risks will impact employees and communities across your portfolio locations is critical. Competing considerations for restoring operations include questions such as:
- How likely is it that a COVID-19 surge will occur in a certain community?
- Is the community prepared to handle an outbreak?
- Is there adequate access to healthcare for my employees?
- How could my workforce be affected, and what percent of my workforce should return to the office versus work from home?
- What percent of the local population suffers from the range of pre-existing conditions that we now know contribute to higher rates of death and disability?
- What level of local healthcare resources are available if there is an outbreak — such as local healthcare specialists who can intubate ventilators — and a host of other relevant data points that can increase the possibility of hospitalizations and fatalities in a given area should a surge in COVID cases occur?
- What percent of the local population is most at risk because they take public transportation to work?
- What percent of the local workforce worked from home prior to COVID-19?
Understanding a Moving Target Through Moblity Data
We are learning more every day about the variables that impact the spread or reduction in COVID-19 transmission — it is truly a moving target. Some companies also are examining mobility data as part of their return-to-work strategy, measuring people’s movement around a community via anonymized cell phone data and correlating it to the number of COVID-19 cases over time.
We are learning more every day about the variables that impact the spread or reduction in COVID-19 transmission — it is truly a moving target. Data that tracks personal mobility can be an important tool in understanding relative risk. As local areas drop restrictions, we can look at how much time the population around our corporate locations and in the communities where our employees reside is spending on public activities, or how often people are visiting shops, restaurants, offices, and other places. Mobility patterns reveal the extent to which the new guidelines have changed personal movements and help to reveal the risk of community transmission of COVID-19.
How does movement align with outbreaks? MobilityMonitor.US is a free tool that tracks, summarizes, and visualizes where people are spending time, whether at home or out running errands, working, or otherwise interacting within their city. Using anonymous data generated by cellphones, we can see whether people are going out on the town or simply staying home. Mobility Monitor also enables us to correlate mobility over time (since early April) with the number of cases of COVID-19 and informs whether community levels are above or below average nationally. Custom reports and origin-and-destination studies are also available through the platform, helping to indicate employee risk at the neighborhood level and what level of risk employees may face from commuting to work.
The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and requires us to use new sources of data in thoughtful and creative ways to help us consider cause and effect and relative risk. Fortunately, technology and data companies are constantly innovating new ways to aggregate and present data that can help us make more informed, data-rich decisions in this difficult time.