“It’s exactly the kind of effects we’ve been worried about,” said Meagan Fitzpatrick, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
“This is not an unpredictable outcome with businesses opening in one location and people going to seek services there,” said Fitzpatrick, who has reviewed the findings by the university’s Maryland Transportation Institute.
In the week after Georgia businesses reopened April 24, a total daily average of 546,159 people traveled there from other states. That included 62,440 more trips daily than in the week before the reopenings — a 13 percent increase, said Lei Zhang, the lead researcher and institute’s director. The trips were measured using anonymized location data in smartphone apps.
The vast majority — 92 percent — came from four adjacent states: Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee and Florida.