Lockdowns and Panic Leads to a 124% Surge in VPN Usage in the US
According to Atlas VPN user data, VPN usage in the US increased by 124% during the last two weeks. VPN usage in the country increased by 71% in the last 7 days alone.
Not surprisingly, confirmed coronavirus cases in the US skyrocketed as well. On March 15th, there were 3,802 confirmed coronavirus cases and 69 deaths. As of March 22nd, there are a total of 33,546 confirmed coronavirus cases and 419 deaths. This is a 782% increase in COVID-19 cases and a 507% increase in mortality in one week.
We measured how much traffic traveled through our servers last week (March 16-22) compared to the week before (March 9-15). We derived data from our 53,000 weekly users.
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One week comparison:
The number of customers increased by 6% during the last week. In most countries, traffic that traveled through our servers increased by more than 6%. Meaning, not only did the number of people using a VPN increased, but the frequency and time of connection increased as well.
In just one week, VPN usage in the US rocketed by over 71%. Looking at the infections, the US moved from the 7th place in the list to the 2nd place. VPN usage in the US and Italy increased the most.
By the end of last week, the VPN usage in Italy increased by over 48%. Italy is now in the first place in terms of deaths (5,475) due to COVID-19. Total cases from the previous week increased by 139%, now totaling 59,138 individual cases.
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Comparison of two weeks:
During the last two weeks, VPN usage in the US increased by 124%. On March 9th, the US government only reported 704 confirmed coronavirus cases. As of March 22nd, the COVID-19 case count already reached 32,356. Meaning, the coronavirus case count surged by a staggering 4,496% in the last two weeks.
Coronavirus hit New York the hardest. Currently, there are 15,801 total cases, with one-third of those reported on March 22nd.
In Italy, where the Coronavirus is wreaking havoc, the VPN usage during these two weeks increased by 160%. On March 8th, Italy officially confirmed 9,172 cases. As of March 22nd, the number rocketed by 545%. The total infections are now approaching 60,000.
Real numbers in some regions are unknown
As we reported last week, the Russian government denied claims that they are understating the infection numbers. According to them, they took fast and strict measures to hinder the spread of the virus.
Interestingly, it is one of the countries with the highest VPN usage growth. VPN usage jumped by 57% in the two week period. The authorities confirmed only 438 coronavirus cases out of the 144.5 million Russian population.
Ironically, just a few days ago, Russia’s Alliance of Doctors union publicly stated the Russian government is covering up coronavirus cases as ordinary pneumonia. Because of that, doctors do not receive protective equipment.
This is not an individual case. Other countries were caught underreporting infections as well. Journalists got a hold of leaked documents from one of the hospitals in China. Leaked documents reveal that the Chinese government understated the infection rate in Shandong province by up to 52 times.
Rachel Welch, Chief Operating Officer of Atlas VPN, voices her concern:
“It’s almost unimaginable that governments could hide the real infection rate. Such misinformation endangers all citizens. If people believe that the spread of the virus is not serious, then they will not take the needed measures to protect themselves.”
Some countries, such as China and Russia, restrict internet access to popular media outlets, hence limiting the information citizens receive. To fight the misinformation, we decided to give away our premium subscription for a 3-month period free of charge. With our VPN service, users can encrypt their internet connection, change their IP address, and overcome content restrictions.