skip to main content

Title: Using Mobility Data to Understand and Forecast COVID19 Dynamics
Disease dynamics, human mobility, and public policies co-evolve during a pandemic such as COVID-19. Understanding dynamic human mobility changes and spatial interaction patterns are crucial for understanding and forecasting COVID- 19 dynamics. We introduce a novel graph-based neural network(GNN) to incorporate global aggregated mobility flows for a better understanding of the impact of human mobility on COVID-19 dynamics as well as better forecasting of disease dynamics. We propose a recurrent message passing graph neural network that embeds spatio-temporal disease dynamics and human mobility dynamics for daily state-level new confirmed cases forecasting. This work represents one of the early papers on the use of GNNs to forecast COVID-19 incidence dynamics and our methods are competitive to existing methods. We show that the spatial and temporal dynamic mobility graph leveraged by the graph neural network enables better long-term forecasting performance compared to baselines.
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1633028 1916805 1918656 2028004 2027541
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. The COVID-19 pandemic represents the most significant public health disaster since the 1918 influenza pandemic. During pandemics such as COVID-19, timely and reliable spatiotemporal forecasting of epidemic dynamics is crucial. Deep learning-based time series models for forecasting have recently gained popularity and have been successfully used for epidemic forecasting. Here we focus on the design and analysis of deep learning-based models for COVID-19 forecasting. We implement multiple recurrent neural network-based deep learning models and combine them using the stacking ensemble technique. In order to incorporate the effects of multiple factors in COVID-19 spread, we consider multiple sources such as COVID-19more »confirmed and death case count data and testing data for better predictions. To overcome the sparsity of training data and to address the dynamic correlation of the disease, we propose clustering-based training for high-resolution forecasting. The methods help us to identify the similar trends of certain groups of regions due to various spatio-temporal effects. We examine the proposed method for forecasting weekly COVID-19 new confirmed cases at county-, state-, and country-level. A comprehensive comparison between different time series models in COVID-19 context is conducted and analyzed. The results show that simple deep learning models can achieve comparable or better performance when compared with more complicated models. We are currently integrating our methods as a part of our weekly forecasts that we provide state and federal authorities.« less
  2. Percolation theory is essential for understanding disease transmission patterns on the temporal mobility networks. However, the traditional approach of the percolation process can be inefficient when analysing a large-scale, dynamic network for an extended period. Not only is it time-consuming but it is also hard to identify the connected components. Recent studies demonstrate that spatial containers restrict mobility behaviour, described by a hierarchical topology of mobility networks. Here, we leverage crowd-sourced, large-scale human mobility data to construct temporal hierarchical networks composed of over 175 000 block groups in the USA. Each daily network contains mobility between block groups within a Metropolitanmore »Statistical Area (MSA), and long-distance travels across the MSAs. We examine percolation on both levels and demonstrate the changes of network metrics and the connected components under the influence of COVID-19. The research reveals the presence of functional subunits even with high thresholds of mobility. Finally, we locate a set of recurrent critical links that divide components resulting in the separation of core MSAs. Our findings provide novel insights into understanding the dynamical community structure of mobility networks during disruptions and could contribute to more effective infectious disease control at multiple scales. This article is part of the theme issue ‘Data science approaches to infectious disease surveillance’.« less
  3. Abstract Human mobility plays an important role in the dynamics of infectious disease spread. Evidence from the initial nationwide lockdowns for COVID− 19 indicates that restricting human mobility is an effective strategy to contain the spread. While a direct correlation was observed early on, it is not known how mobility impacted COVID− 19 infection growth rates once lockdowns are lifted, primarily due to modulation by other factors such as face masks, social distancing, and the non-linear patterns of both mobility and infection growth. This paper introduces a piece-wise approach to better explore the phase-wise association between state-level COVID− 19 incidence data and anonymizedmore »mobile phone data for various states in the United States. Prior literature analyzed the linear correlation between mobility and the number of cases during the early stages of the pandemic. However, it is important to capture the non-linear dynamics of case growth and mobility to be usable for both tracking and forecasting COVID− 19 infections, which is accomplished by the piece-wise approach. The associations between mobility and case growth rate varied widely for various phases of the epidemic curve when the stay-at-home orders were lifted. The mobility growth patterns had a strong positive association of 0.7 with the growth in the number of cases, with a lag of 5 to 7 weeks, for the fast-growth phase of the pandemic, for only 20 states that had a peak between July 1st and September 30, 2020. Overall though, mobility cannot be used to predict the rise in the number of cases after initial lockdowns have been lifted. Our analysis explores the gradual diminishing value of mobility associations in the later stage of the outbreak. Our analysis indicates that the relationship between mobility and the increase in the number of cases, once lockdowns have been lifted, is tenuous at best and there is no strong relationship between these signals. But we identify the remnants of the last associations in specific phases of the growth curve.« less
  4. Estimating human mobility responses to the large-scale spreading of the COVID-19 pandemic is crucial, since its significance guides policymakers to give Non-pharmaceutical Interventions, such as closure or reopening of businesses. It is challenging to model due to complex social contexts and limited training data. Recently, we proposed a conditional generative adversarial network (COVID-GAN) to estimate human mobility response under a set of social and policy conditions integrated from multiple data sources. Although COVID-GAN achieves a good average estimation accuracy under real-world conditions, it produces higher errors in certain regions due to the presence of spatial heterogeneity and outliers. To addressmore »these issues, in this article, we extend our prior work by introducing a new spatio-temporal deep generative model, namely, COVID-GAN+. COVID-GAN+ deals with the spatial heterogeneity issue by introducing a new spatial feature layer that utilizes the local Moran statistic to model the spatial heterogeneity strength in the data. In addition, we redesign the training objective to learn the estimated mobility changes from historical average levels to mitigate the effects of spatial outliers. We perform comprehensive evaluations using urban mobility data derived from cell phone records and census data. Results show that COVID-GAN+ can better approximate real-world human mobility responses than prior methods, including COVID-GAN.« less
  5. Background Population mobility is closely associated with COVID-19 transmission, and it could be used as a proximal indicator to predict future outbreaks, which could inform proactive nonpharmaceutical interventions for disease control. South Carolina is one of the US states that reopened early, following which it experienced a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases. Objective The aims of this study are to examine the spatial-temporal relationship between population mobility and COVID-19 outbreaks and use population mobility data to predict daily new cases at both the state and county level in South Carolina. Methods This longitudinal study used disease surveillance data and Twitter-basedmore »population mobility data from March 6 to November 11, 2020, in South Carolina and its five counties with the largest number of cumulative confirmed COVID-19 cases. Population mobility was assessed based on the number of Twitter users with a travel distance greater than 0.5 miles. A Poisson count time series model was employed for COVID-19 forecasting. Results Population mobility was positively associated with state-level daily COVID-19 incidence as well as incidence in the top five counties (ie, Charleston, Greenville, Horry, Spartanburg, and Richland). At the state level, the final model with a time window within the last 7 days had the smallest prediction error, and the prediction accuracy was as high as 98.7%, 90.9%, and 81.6% for the next 3, 7, and 14 days, respectively. Among Charleston, Greenville, Horry, Spartanburg, and Richland counties, the best predictive models were established based on their observations in the last 9, 14, 28, 20, and 9 days, respectively. The 14-day prediction accuracy ranged from 60.3%-74.5%. Conclusions Using Twitter-based population mobility data could provide acceptable predictions of COVID-19 daily new cases at both the state and county level in South Carolina. Population mobility measured via social media data could inform proactive measures and resource relocations to curb disease outbreaks and their negative influences.« less