Data: Descartes Labs; Chart: Axios Visuals

The latest sign that driving is coming back? Analysis from the data science company Descartes Labs shows substantial increases in mobility in recent weeks after driving reached its pandemic-related trough about a month ago.

Why it matters: The revival of travel in the U.S. and worldwide will affect how quickly oil demand recovers from its unprecedented collapse (if it ever indeed comes all the way back).

How it works: Descartes Labs has created a "mobility index" based on geolocation data derived from phones and other devices reporting throughout the day, calculating the maximum distance moved from the first reported location.

What they found: Co-founder Mike Warren tells me that they're seeing increases nationwide.

  • "In mid-March, the drop in mobility seems to have started before a lot of the states had implemented the stay-at-home orders and closures, so I'm not surprised that people would be deciding for themselves what is safe to do," he said.

What we don't know: "We can't tell from the data if people went for a drive by themselves to get out of the house, or if they went to join some gathering of people, which would have very different consequences for the spread of COVID-19," Warren says.

The big picture: Descartes Labs says their far more granular localized and state-level analysis can help combat the pandemic.

  • "We're getting a lot of positive feedback from local health agencies who are using these data combined with their own local knowledge to understand the dynamics of the disease better," Warren adds.

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

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Australian officials in Victoria announced Sunday 17 more deaths from COVID-19 — a new state and national record.

The big picture: Australia was on track to suppress the novel coronavirus in May, but cases have been spiking in Victoria in recent weeks, where a state of disaster was declared last week, enabling officials to introduce restrictions including a night-time curfew in state capital Melbourne.

Aug 7, 2020 - Health

Massachusetts pauses reopening after uptick in coronavirus cases

Gov. Charlie Baker at Boston MedFlight Headquarters on Aug. 4. Photo: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced Friday that the state's second phase of reopening is "postponed indefinitely" in response to a modest increase in coronavirus cases.

The big picture: The state is reporting more COVID-19 deaths than most others across the U.S. outside of domestic epicenters like California, or previous hotspots including New Jersey and New York, per a New York Times database.

Aug 7, 2020 - Health

Cuomo says all New York schools can reopen for in-person learning

Gov. Cuomo on July 23 in New York City. Photo: Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that all school districts across the state can choose to reopen for in-person learning because it has so far maintained low enough coronavirus transmission rates.

Why it matters: It’s another sign that the state, once the global epicenter of the pandemic, has — at least for now — successfully curbed the spread of the virus even as infections have surged elsewhere around the country.