The drastic drop in mobility as Covid-19 spread around the world hit its extreme at the start of April. People were moving around 63% less than they were on January 13, a result of lockdowns and personal caution.
Eerily quiet streets, empty buses, and cars sat untouched in driveways across the globe. It was a bizarre time for us all, but it wasn’t long before we started to get back on the move.
Global mobility steadily increased from mid-April, eventually overtaking the data’s baseline level as we went into July. With lockdown measures eased in many places, growing confidence amongst the populace, and warmer weather in the northern hemisphere, mobility continued to increase.
It’s worth stopping to note here that while levels were increasing, they were likely far below what you would expect around this time in a normal year.
Seasonal trends will have contributed to the fall as we went past August. But as the year went on lockdown measures were tightened in various countries as outbreaks and second waves reared their heads.
Eventually we reach January 2021 where we can directly compare data to last year’s. Mobility is still down by nearly a fifth. While vaccination efforts are ongoing, global new Covid-19 case levels are at some of the highest we’ve ever seen.
In other words, we’re still far from “normal” mobility levels.
The picture isn’t identical everywhere, though. Here’s how the data looks for five major cities around the world.