How Well Are We Isolating in Hawai‘i?

A new report from Google shows a decrease in visits to the outdoors and recreation activities, but with some surprises.
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Photo: Getty Images

 

We’ve known it all along—we’re being watched. Maybe it’s not a bad thing. Google, owning its omnipresence, released a COVID-19 Community Mobility Report last week, which reveals the movements of people around the world and is meant to help our public health officials fight the coronavirus. The numbers are based on location services on phones linked to Googleaccounts and show how many people stepped out to visit parks, grocery stores, transit stations and workplaces. 

 

So how well are we isolating in Hawai‘i? Compared to the baseline established between Jan. 3 and Feb. 6, visits to parks dropped 65%, travel to bus stops and other transit stations is down 72%, and trips for retail and recreation—including shopping centers, restaurants. libraries, and museums—fell by 56%. In Honolulu, visits to parks have dropped by 58%, travel to bus stops and transit stations by 69%, and trips for retail and recreation by 53%.

 

Grocery store visits in the state and Honolulu have fallen by a mere 36% and 32%, respectively—understandable since only a limited number of places offer delivery, meaning many people still don their masks and run in or park curbside for necessities such as toilet paper, hand soap or, in some of our cases, Oreos. Commuting to our workplaces has dropped 45% but many brave essential workers are continuing to keep our world upright.

 

 

Most surprising was the data of showing who’s staying at home—it’s only risen by 16%. Which leads one to wonder, where are we going? Looking out at the city at night, I’ve been surprised by the number of dark apartment windows. I wistfully imagine a new speakeasy in town, where handshakes are still the norm and you can laugh and breathe freely without worry. One can dream. We still have places to be, even during these trying times. But next time you drive out for your next errand, roll down your window and throw a big shaka out to the eye in the sky. Google loves us, and it knows where we’ve been.  

 

Visit google.com/covid19/mobility for the reports, which will be updated regularly for as long as needed. Click here for the first Hawai‘i report.