Apr 28, 2020 - Economy & Business

Americans are starting to drive again, but still staying away from public transit

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Data: Apple; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

One thing that will affect post-pandemic oil demand and carbon emissions is how quickly — and how much — driving ultimately bounces back compared to other modes of moving around.

Driving the news: Rough proxy data via Apple provides early signs that driving is starting to come back in a number of U.S. cities, while light rail and bus use basically isn't (yet).

  • The chart above shows a few cities I looked at using this interactive online tool from Apple that shows the results of changes in the number of requests for directions to Apple Maps.

Why it matters: Shelter-in-place restrictions worldwide have radically cut down on travel during the pandemic, but it's not yet clear if post-crisis travel patterns and decisions will ever be completely the same.

Where it stands: A much clearer picture will emerge in the months and years ahead. But already there are other signs that car travel is beginning to come back.

  • Data provided to Axios by the Google-owned navigation app Waze is another proxy for driving levels in the same cities charted above.
  • The reductions on April 22 were less severe in all the cities than peak declines from a February baseline. (Peak declines occurred from late March through mid-April, depending on the city.)

The intrigue: There's all kinds of variable and uncertainties. We're in the early stages. But the future could mean...

  • Some people avoiding mass transit, at least for a time, which adds to vehicle use and traffic.
  • Yet working from home and other behaviors that put downward pressure on car travel could remain post-crisis.
  • Some cityscapes in Europe and elsewhere are becoming more walking- and bike-friendly during the crisis, and I'm watching to see if those changes could stick around too.

Go deeper: The post-pandemic landscape may favor cars

Go deeper

May 31, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus looms over George Floyd protests across the country

Protestors rally in Minneapolis. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Health experts fear that massive protests against police brutality in major cities around the United States could result in new coronavirus outbreaks due to the close proximity of demonstrators, AP reports.

Why it matters: The U.S. has already recorded more confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths than any other country in the world. A potential surge in cases stemming from the protests would come as many states are weeks into their phased reopening plans.

Increased armed presence planned for D.C. tonight

Demonstrators stand around a fire during a protest near the White House in response to the killing of George Floyd. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Government officials say plans are in place for a significantly heavier armed presence on the streets of Washington, D.C. tonight in response to the increasingly violent protests linked to the death of George Floyd.

What we're hearing: "Tonight you will see increased presence, both police...other agencies, and National Guard presence," a source familiar with the government's plans said.

Updated 40 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 6,226,408 — Total deaths: 373,973 — Total recoveries — 2,672,161Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 1,799,747 — Total deaths: 104,702 — Total recoveries: 444,758 — Total tested: 16,936,891Map.
  3. Public health: Nearly 26,000 coronavirus deaths in nursing homes have been reported to federal health officials —Coronavirus looms over George Floyd protests across the country.
  4. Federal government: Trump lashes out at governors, calls for National Guard to "dominate" streets.
  5. World: Former FDA commissioner says "this is not the time" to cut ties with WHO.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: The virus didn't go away.