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Title: Exploring the relationship between mobility and COVID− 19 infection rates for the second peak in the United States using phase-wise association
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 anonymized 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 more » 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
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Award ID(s):
1650551 2027688 1429526
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
BMC Public Health
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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