- A Twitter campaign has inspired people around the world who are staying home amid the coronavirus outbreak to lean out their windows once a day to cheer health workers.
- In Spain, the practice is reportedly so widespread that it causes a noticeable dip in internet traffic every evening.
- Every night, internet traffic in Spain goes down at 8 p.m. when people cheer workers, then goes back up, a spokesperson for internet provider Telefónica told Business Insider.
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People around the world are showing their support for healthcare workers fighting COVID-19 – and in some places, the demonstration is so widespread that it’s causing noticeable shifts in internet traffic.
Internet usage is surging globally as an unprecedented number of people are staying home to reduce the transmission of coronavirus. YouTube and Netflix, which collectively account for half of all internet traffic globally, have both taken steps to reduce streaming quality to help ease the strain on internet infrastructure.
But the surging traffic has, in some countries, dipped once a day as people leave their screens to lean out their windows to cheer health workers.
In Spain, internet provider Telefónica has noticed a brief decline in internet usage every night at 8 p.m., when people cheer health workers from their balconies. The trend was first reported by The New York Times, and a Telefónica spokesperson confirmed it to Business Insider.
“We have seen this pattern here in Spain, where the 8 p.m. applause has become a nightly institution,” the spokesperson told Business Insider.
The trend started as a Twitter campaign to show appreciation to doctors and hospital staff working overtime to fight coronavirus. It has become a newfound tradition in countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America, according to CNN.
— Camrus Johnson (@CamrusJ) March 24, 2020
Despite the sharp rise in internet use across the globe, providers have said they’re equipped to handle the high level of traffic. Tom Leighton, CEO of web infrastructure provider Akamai, told Business Insider last week that its services are “running normally.”