By Louisa Moller

BOSTON (CBS) – From crowded beaches in California to a rally outside the Wisconsin State House, it appears many Americans are growing tired of staying at home.

Using cell phone data, researchers at the University of Maryland discovered that more and more people have begun moving around, despite stay at home orders and social distancing mandates.

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“In terms of percentage of people staying home, we’ve seen an 18 percent reduction across the nation,” lead researcher and the Director of the Maryland Transportation Institute Dr. Lei Zhang said.

Zhang said the nation was sitting tight in early March, when many stay at home orders were announced and COVID-19 began surging through the states. But, his colleagues discovered that people in the Southeastern states started to move around the week of April 14, two days after Easter.

“So what happened that week? On Wednesday, there was the Michigan protests and there were discussions about reopening plans in South Carolina,” Zhang said.

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Compared to the rest of the country, Zhang said Massachusetts is doing exceptionally well. He credits the Bay State’s cold weather and relatively low unemployment rate.

“In Massachusetts you have still one of the lowest unemployment rates and the fact that you are providing, I believe, the highest amount of support in unemployment assistance, probably all contributed to the fact that you’re still doing pretty well,” Zhang said.

Zhang warns that communities will still need to buckle down, even as the weather warms up.

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“Don’t bring viruses to otherwise healthy rural areas,” he said.

Louisa Moller