Tracking virus’ next moves: Cell phone data ‘heat map’ taken after Spring Break cluster sets off alarms

(Video screenshots)

Because of increasing concerns about the effects of not practicing proper social distancing, some local governments are resorting to increasingly extreme measures to protect their residents from contracting the coronavirus, thus raising questions over whether such measures are fair or overkill.

This week Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, a Democrat, announced that she’s ordered local law enforcement officials and National Guardsmen to canvas neighborhoods in search of anyone who’s recently been to or relocated from New York State.

The announcement came as she signed an executive order Thursday decreeing that “anyone who’s traveled to NY by any form of transportation must self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in RI.”

Note what she wrote about National Guardsmen and State Police officers gathering “contact information” from random people on the street …

“Right now, we have a pinpointed risk that we need to address, and we need to be very serious and that risk is called New York City,” she said at a news conference Friday.

“In light of that risk and in light of the fact folks from New York present a different kind of danger to the people of Rhode Island, we’re going to take a more aggressive pinpointed approach for the foreseeable future as it relates to people coming to Rhode Island from New York.”

“Aggressive” seems like an understatement …


Governor Raimondo daily coronavirus briefing Friday, March 27

Governor Raimondo extends ban on gatherings and dine-in at restaurants, closures of entertainment businesses.

Posted by WPRI 12 on Friday, March 27, 2020

Are these measures fair or overkill? It depends on whom you ask.

Some support such measures on the basis that the coronavirus is highly contagious and that people aren’t practicing proper social distancing.

Tectonix, a company known for manufacturing measuring devices, published a video earlier in the week showing the dangers of ignoring social distancing guidelines.

Using mobile GPS data, the company tracked how far the coronavirus may have potentially spread because of the now-infamous spring breakers who’d congregated on Florida’s beach earlier this month despite warnings.


Some of those spring breakers have since tested positive for the virus.

However, questions remain over how exactly Tectonix obtained their mobile GPS data.

Privacy indeed, except privacy and other civil rights appear to be eroding at lightening-fast speed because of the government’s response to the coronavirus crisis.

“[G]rowing segments of the U.S. population say state and federal governments are trampling on freedoms central to American life in the name of protecting public health. … [T]housands of Americans are already confined to their homes under threat of fines and even jail. Businesses are losing thousands of dollars. Workers are laid off,” the Associated Press reported in an eye-opening piece Friday.

And while some Americans support these measures, there’s a growing contingent of critics who wonder what the point of stopping the spread of coronavirus is if there’s no free America to return to once the crisis subsides.

“A few Americans are already fed up and have taken their grievances to court by suing their respective states. But a relative trickle of legal challenges will likely become a flood if lockdowns drag on for weeks and frustrations mount,” the AP noted.

In a lawsuit filed Friday, the National Rifle Association blasted California government officials for forcing the shuttering of gun stores during the coronavirus crisis.

“The circumstances posed by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak are noteworthy, but do not excuse unlawful government infringements upon freedom,” the group wrote in its legal complaint.

“In fact, the importance of maintaining the ongoing activities of essential businesses for the safety, health, and welfare of Californians makes Plaintiffs’ point: the need for enhanced safety during uncertain times is precisely when Plaintiffs and their members must be able to exercise their fundamental rights to keep and bear arms.”

Read the complaint below:

The American people’s “fundamental rights to keep and bear arms” is outlined in the Constitution. So is “the right of the people peaceably to assemble.”


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