Spring Break During a Pandemic

It’s April 6 and my school is on Spring Break this week. From what I gather from other professors and friends with kids in college, this Spring Break is rather late. We’ve not been on campus since March 13th, the last day of face to face classes since the Covid-19 outbreaks in New York City.

FIT students will spend their Spring Break at home, probably venturing out for a walk, and maybe to the grocery store, masked and gloved. Maybe they can get to a park that is not closed. I hope it will be their safest spring break ever.

A few weeks ago, well after Covid-19 hit the United States, there were thousands of spring breakers having a good time across the country. Reports on the news showed packed beaches and bars. Honestly, it made me shudder. The callousness with which the co-eds mocked the danger was unbelievable. Fortunately, the most (in)famous young man from these reports has made a sincere apology to the public, his family and friends on social media for the statement made about continuing to “par-tay.” He gets it now.

As I write, New York City is considered the epicenter of the virus. We are starting to enter the peak. Tens of thousands are infected, thousands have died, hundreds more die each day. Even a tiger at the Bronx Zoo tested positive. Other states, including spring break mecca, Florida, have tried to ban New Yorkers from entering their states, for fear they will bring the virus to their area.

It’s already there. It’s been in your community for a while. So get inside and stay inside. 

By collecting cell phone data, that is apparently just dripping our phones all of the time, Tectonix created a visualization that tracks where spring breakers, on a certain patch of beach in Ft. Lauderdale, went to after leaving the beach, roughly from March 4 through March 16. 

This visualization was made by Tectonix (tectonix.com), using their “geo-spatial big data engine.”
Circle a population on a beach, represented by individual (water resistant?) cell phones.
This is where those cell phones spread across the eastern United States in mid-March.

Some people are getting it, though. Among their amazing maps that track the virus, The New York Times shows us where people are staying home.

NY Times map showing travel

How many miles do you venture from your home?
In some of these states, the grocery store could be miles away.

That data was from a couple of weeks ago. A newer visualization by Tectonix shows where New Yorkers are going. So who are we to talk? 

Tectonix NY Travel Visualization
Where did New Yorkers go? as of March 25.
I would say a fair amount of these trips were college students, leaving New York and returning home.

It’s going to be a very long spring this country. Stay safe everyone.

See current data for Coronavirus in New York City here.