Using travel pattern to prepare for Omicron variant

Published December 3, 2021, 11:52 AM

by Wilson Chua

It’s amazing when we learned that African governments turned to mobile phones to fight Ebola in the past. You see, mobile phones are widely owned, even in poorer sections of Africa. And when you use your mobile phone, or when you call or text, the mobile phone sends a wealth of location data to telcos. These are then gathered to generate travel maps like this one:


So I thought: why not use data to help our governments fight and or prepare for the impending arrival of the Covid19 Omicron variant?

So let’s copy this approach. Government can blunt the impending arrival of the Covid19 Omicron variant using data. Here is one way: I used Facebook’s Data for Good to generate a heat map of travel volumes. Here I used Tableau’s density to create the insight.

Areas with darker REDs have higher travels. While areas with lighter BLUEs have lower travels. I measured this against PRE-Pandemic levels. I generated this map using for the last two weeks of November 2021.

Most of Region I, Central Luzon, parts of Cagayan, Metro Manila, and Calabarzon have reduced travel. However, it is worrisome that Benguet, Iloilo, Cebu, and Zamboanga province show higher travels. It is wise to avoid these later places. If it is true that Omicron is more infectious than the Delta variant, it will spread FASTER in these red zones.

Higher-resolution maps for your locality are available. Please pm me or share this with your local chiefs. Please share this where you think it will serve the greater good.