Data reveal impact of coronavirus on physical activity
Unless you’re a frontliner, going outside is only allowed when purchasing essential items, food, and medicine, for example. Marky Perez, an accountant for a multinational company, now works at home. Due to the nature of his desk-bound job, he ensures that he’s able to squeeze in a lot of steps by walking to his office from home. His weekly average steps per day recorded on his fitness tracker: 7,500. That was before the government-imposed quarantine. His average steps last week: 650. “That number was the result of my working three steps from my bed,” he shared. It certainly didn’t help step-wise that Perez is “not the holder of our household’s quarantine pass.” The data on the steep decrease in step count due to COVID-19 pandemic was gathered from over 30 million active Fitbit users around the world. As countries adapt to social distancing and community quarantines, the wearable fitness tracker company said “it is not a surprise that almost all countries studied by Fitbit experienced a statistically significant decline in average step count, compared to that of the same time in the previous year.” By establishing a baseline for normal activity levels around step count in each area during the same week from the previous year, Fitbit data scientists were able to analyze the activity of millions of Fitbit users. According to this analysis, during the week of March 22 this year, the United States saw a 12 percent decline in step count. The company previously reported that Fitbit users in the US clock in an average of 7,000 to 8,000 steps per day—depending on the season. Further, the deviation from normal activity for this time last year occurred much earlier in countries like China (16 percent lower) and Hong Kong, which were the first to face COVID-19. In the Philippines, the decline in step count was 27 percent. But there are also reasons for optimism, as the graphs reveal that step counts are starting to rise again in China, Japan, and Hong Kong. Wuhan in China, the city where the virus was first detected, opened last week after its 76-day lockdown. Given the current circumstances, Fitbit offers tips to stay healthy to boost immunity.