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Representative image

Data from mobiles may reveal dynamics in a positive relationship between human mobility, coronavirus infections

ANI | Updated: Oct 18, 2020 17:32 IST

Washington [US], October 18 (ANI): A new research suggests that accurately estimating human mobility and gauging its relationship with virus transmission during a pandemic is critical for control of the spread of COVID-19 and any other highly contagious disease.
A key contribution of the study lies in the daily updated OD travel demand analytics and mobility inflow for each of the 3,141 US counties, using mobile device location data. The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).
The analytics made available to the public reveal daily intercounty travels and has already provided timely support to a number of decision-makers.
Another contribution is that the researchers robustly characterised the dynamics in a positive relationship between mobility inflow and the number of infections via a simultaneous equations modelling process with time-varying coefficients. And this positive relationship gets steadily amplified in reopened regions.

Findings of the researchers warn about the premature loosening of restrictions and that the second spike in coronavirus could be a likely scenario in many early-opening regions even though people are still urged to stay at home unless necessary.
The analysis and data provide a timely reference for researchers and decision-makers about human mobility trends in the nation.
The dynamics on how mobility influences COVID-19 infections are estimated, which can be used in predictions and integration with agent-based travel and epidemics models to further assess the public health consequences of decisions such as reopening, school closure, etc.
With proper incorporation of spatial correlation, the study can also be extended to critical urban and suburban areas with fine-grained mobility at the census-block level. (ANI)