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Metromile says data shows its customers are also driving less in Seattle and San Francisco

PMG FILE PHOTO - Metromile says its customers have been driving less in recent days.People living in Portland, Seattle and San Francisco may already be reducing their travel because of COVID-19, according to the most recent driving figures compiled by Metromile.

Customers covered by the pay-by-the-mile car insurance company have been driving less in all three cities in recent days. The greatest drop has been in Seattle, where the most people have died from illnesses linked to the novel coronavirus. There, driving decreased an average of nearly 6% a day between March 1 and 7 compared to the previous week. The greatest drop was 10.86% on Friday, March 6.

"Seattle is the hot spot on the West Coast. Health officials and employers have been quick to close offices and tell people to work from home," said company spokesman Rick Chen.

Driving in San Francisco fell nearly 3% a day between March 5 and 7, with the biggest decline being 5.77% on Saturday, March 7.

And Portland driving fell an average of almost 2% a day between March 4 and 7, with the biggest drop being 3.69% on Friday, March 6.

Portland driving had been pretty consistent over the past five weeks, but is declining now," said Chen.

And the trend is likely to continue. The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on Wednesday, March 11. In terms of public health, an "outbreak" occurs when there is a sudden increase or a greater number of cases of a disease than usual. An "epidemic" is an outbreak that spreads over a large geographic area. A "pandemic" is an epidemic that affects the entire globe."

Ahead of that, the governors of Oregon, Washington and California has all declared states of emergency to fight the spread of the virus. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday banned gathering of more than 250 people in three counties, including virtually the entire Seattle-metro area, which is near where the largest number of people have died in a senior center.

Metromile began in Portland in 2012. It has issued just under 100,000 policies in eight states, including more than 5,000 in Portland. It electronically collects driving data from its policyholders on a regular basis.


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