skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on November 2, 2022

Title: Change of human mobility during COVID-19: A United States case study
With the onset of COVID-19 and the resulting shelter in place guidelines combined with remote working practices, human mobility in 2020 has been dramatically impacted. Existing studies typically examine whether mobility in specific localities increases or decreases at specific points in time and relate these changes to certain pandemic and policy events. However, a more comprehensive analysis of mobility change over time is needed. In this paper, we study mobility change in the US through a five-step process using mobility footprint data. (Step 1) Propose the Delta Time Spent in Public Places (ΔTSPP) as a measure to quantify daily changes in mobility for each US county from 2019-2020. (Step 2) Conduct Principal Component Analysis (PCA) to reduce the ΔTSPP time series of each county to lower-dimensional latent components of change in mobility. (Step 3) Conduct clustering analysis to find counties that exhibit similar latent components. (Step 4) Investigate local and global spatial autocorrelation for each component. (Step 5) Conduct correlation analysis to investigate how various population characteristics and behavior correlate with mobility patterns. Results show that by describing each county as a linear combination of the three latent components, we can explain 59% of the variation in mobility trends across more » all US counties. Specifically, change in mobility in 2020 for US counties can be explained as a combination of three latent components: 1) long-term reduction in mobility, 2) no change in mobility, and 3) short-term reduction in mobility. Furthermore, we find that US counties that are geographically close are more likely to exhibit a similar change in mobility. Finally, we observe significant correlations between the three latent components of mobility change and various population characteristics, including political leaning, population, COVID-19 cases and deaths, and unemployment. We find that our analysis provides a comprehensive understanding of mobility change in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. « less
Authors:
; ; ; ;
Editors:
Benenson, Itzhak
Award ID(s):
2030685 2109647
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10302625
Journal Name:
PloS one
Volume:
16
Issue:
11
ISSN:
1932-6203
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. The COVID-19 pandemic severely changed the way of life in the United States (US). From early scattered regional outbreaks to current country-wide spread, and from rural areas to highly populated cities, the contagion exhibits diverse patterns at various timescales and locations. We thus conduct a graph frequency analysis to inves- tigate the spread patterns of COVID-19 in different US counties. The commute flows between all 3142 US counties were used to construct a graph capturing the population mobility. The numbers of daily confirmed COVID-19 cases per county were collected and represented as graph signals, which were then mapped into themore »frequency domain via the graph Fourier transform. The concept of graph frequency in Graph Signal Processing (GSP) enables the decomposition of graph signals (i.e., daily confirmed cases) into modes with smooth or rapid variations with respect to the underlying mobility graph. These different modes of variability are shown to relate to COVID-19 spread patterns within and across counties. Changes in the nature of spread within geographical regions are also revealed by graph frequency analysis at finer temporal scales. Overall, our GSP-based approach leverages case count and mobility data to unveil spatio-temporal contagion patterns of COVID-19 incidence for each US county. Results here support the promising prospect of using GSP tools for epidemiology knowledge discovery on graphs.« less
  2. Abstract The objective of this study is to examine the transmission risk of COVID-19 based on cross-county population co-location data from Facebook. The rapid spread of COVID-19 in the United States has imposed a major threat to public health, the real economy, and human well-being. With the absence of effective vaccines, the preventive actions of social distancing, travel reduction and stay-at-home orders are recognized as essential non-pharmacologic approaches to control the infection and spatial spread of COVID-19. Prior studies demonstrated that human movement and mobility drove the spatiotemporal distribution of COVID-19 in China. Little is known, however, about the patternsmore »and effects of co-location reduction on cross-county transmission risk of COVID-19. This study utilizes Facebook co-location data for all counties in the United States from March to early May 2020 for conducting spatial network analysis where nodes represent counties and edge weights are associated with the co-location probability of populations of the counties. The analysis examines the synchronicity and time lag between travel reduction and pandemic growth trajectory to evaluate the efficacy of social distancing in ceasing the population co-location probabilities, and subsequently the growth in weekly new cases across counties. The results show that the mitigation effects of co-location reduction appear in the growth of weekly new confirmed cases with one week of delay. The analysis categorizes counties based on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and examines co-location patterns within and across groups. Significant segregation is found among different county groups. The results suggest that within-group co-location probabilities (e.g., co-location probabilities among counties with high numbers of cases) remain stable, and social distancing policies primarily resulted in reduced cross-group co-location probabilities (due to travel reduction from counties with large number of cases to counties with low numbers of cases). These findings could have important practical implications for local governments to inform their intervention measures for monitoring and reducing the spread of COVID-19, as well as for adoption in future pandemics. Public policy, economic forecasting, and epidemic modeling need to account for population co-location patterns in evaluating transmission risk of COVID-19 across counties.« less
  3. Kainz, W. ; Manley, E. ; Delmelle, E. ; Birkin, M. ; Gahegan, M. ; Kwan, M-P. (Ed.)
    As of March 2021, the State of Florida, U.S.A. had accounted for approximately 6.67% of total COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus disease) cases in the U.S. The main objective of this research is to analyze mobility patterns during a three month period in summer 2020, when COVID-19 case numbers were very high for three Florida counties, Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. To investigate patterns, as well as drivers, related to changes in mobility across the tri-county region, a random forest regression model was built using sociodemographic, travel, and built environment factors, as well as COVID-19 positive case data. Mobility patterns declinedmore »in each county when new COVID-19 infections began to rise, beginning in mid-June 2020. While the mean number of bar and restaurant visits was lower overall due to closures, analysis showed that these visits remained a top factor that impacted mobility for all three counties, even with a rise in cases. Our modeling results suggest that there were mobility pattern differences between counties with respect to factors relating, for example, to race and ethnicity (different population groups factored differently in each county),as well as social distancing or travel-related factors (e.g., staying at home behaviors) over the two time periods prior to and after the spike of COVID-19 cases.« less
  4. Abstract Background The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic warranted a myriad of government-ordered business closures across the USA in efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus. This study aims to discover the implications of government-enforced health policies of reopening public businesses amidst the pandemic and its effect on county-level infection rates. Methods Eighty-three US counties (n = 83) that reported at least 20 000 cases as of 4 November 2020 were selected for this study. The dates when businesses (restaurants, bars, retail, gyms, salons/barbers and public schools) partially and fully reopened, as well as infection rates on the 1st andmore »14th days following each businesses’ reopening, were recorded. Regression analysis was conducted to deduce potential associations between the 14-day change in infection rate and mask usage frequency, median household income, population density and social distancing. Results On average, infection rates rose significantly as businesses reopened. The average 14-day change in infection rate was higher for fully reopened businesses (infection rate = +0.100) compared to partially reopened businesses (infection rate = +0.0454). The P-value of the two distributions was 0.001692, indicating statistical significance (P < 0.01). Conclusion This research provides insight into the transmission of COVID-19 and promotes evidence-driven policymaking for disease prevention and community health.« less
  5. null (Ed.)
    Understanding the dynamics of the spread of COVID-19 between connected communities is fundamental in planning appropriate mitigation measures. To that end, we propose and analyze a novel metapopulation network model, particularly suitable for modeling commuter traffic patterns, that takes into account the connectivity between a heterogeneous set of communities, each with its own infection dynamics. In the novel metapopulation model that we propose here, transport schemes developed in optimal transport theory provide an efficient and easily implementable way of describing the temporary population redistribution due to traffic, such as the daily commuter traffic between work and residence. Locally, infection dynamicsmore »in individual communities are described in terms of a susceptible-exposed-infected-recovered (SEIR) compartment model, modified to account for the specific features of COVID-19, most notably its spread by asymptomatic and presymptomatic infected individuals. The mathematical foundation of our metapopulation network model is akin to a transport scheme between two population distributions, namely the residential distribution and the workplace distribution, whose interface can be inferred from commuter mobility data made available by the US Census Bureau. We use the proposed metapopulation model to test the dynamics of the spread of COVID-19 on two networks, a smaller one comprising 7 counties in the Greater Cleveland area in Ohio, and a larger one consisting of 74 counties in the Pittsburgh–Cleveland–Detroit corridor following the Lake Erie’s American coastline. The model simulations indicate that densely populated regions effectively act as amplifiers of the infection for the surrounding, less densely populated areas, in agreement with the pattern of infections observed in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Computed examples show that the model can be used also to test different mitigation strategies, including one based on state-level travel restrictions, another on county level triggered social distancing, as well as a combination of the two.« less