• A big-data driven approach to analyzing and modeling human mobility trend under non-pharmaceutical interventions during COVID-19 pandemic.

      Hu, Songhua; Xiong, Chenfeng; Yang, Mofeng; Younes, Hannah; Luo, Weiyu; Zhang, Lei (Elsevier Ltd., 2021-01-09)
      During the unprecedented coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) challenge, non-pharmaceutical interventions became a widely adopted strategy to limit physical movements and interactions to mitigate virus transmissions. For situational awareness and decision-support, quickly available yet accurate big-data analytics about human mobility and social distancing is invaluable to agencies and decision-makers. This paper presents a big-data-driven analytical framework that ingests terabytes of data on a daily basis and quantitatively assesses the human mobility trend during COVID-19. Using mobile device location data of over 150 million monthly active samples in the United States (U.S.), the study successfully measures human mobility with three main metrics at the county level: daily average number of trips per person; daily average person-miles traveled; and daily percentage of residents staying home. A set of generalized additive mixed models is employed to disentangle the policy effect on human mobility from other confounding effects including virus effect, socio-demographic effect, weather effect, industry effect, and spatiotemporal autocorrelation. Results reveal the policy plays a limited, time-decreasing, and region-specific effect on human movement. The stay-at-home orders only contribute to a 3.5%-7.9% decrease in human mobility, while the reopening guidelines lead to a 1.6%-5.2% mobility increase. Results also indicate a reasonable spatial heterogeneity among the U.S. counties, wherein the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, income levels, industry structure, age and racial distribution play important roles. The data informatics generated by the framework are made available to the public for a timely understanding of mobility trends and policy effects, as well as for time-sensitive decision support to further contain the spread of the virus.
    • Examining spatiotemporal evolution of racial/ethnic disparities in human mobility and COVID-19 health outcomes: Evidence from the contiguous United States

      Hu, Songhua; Xiong, Chenfeng; Younes, Hannah; Yang, Mofeng; Darzi, Aref; Jin, Zhiyu Catherine (Elsevier BV, 2022-10-29)
      Social distancing has become a key countermeasure to contain the dissemination of COVID-19. This study examined county-level racial/ethnic disparities in human mobility and COVID-19 health outcomes during the year 2020 by leveraging geo-tracking data across the contiguous US. Sets of generalized additive models were fitted under cross-sectional and time-varying settings, with percentage of mobility change, percentage of staying home, COVID-19 infection rate, and case-fatality ratio as dependent variables, respectively. After adjusting for spatial effects, built environment, socioeconomics, demographics, and partisanship, we found counties with higher Asian populations decreased most in travel, counties with higher White and Asian populations experienced the least infection rate, and counties with higher African American populations presented the highest case-fatality ratio. Control variables, particularly partisanship and education attainment, significantly influenced modeling results. Time-varying analyses further suggested racial differences in human mobility varied dramatically at the beginning but remained stable during the pandemic, while racial differences in COVID-19 outcomes broadly decreased over time. All conclusions hold robust with different aggregation units or model specifications. Altogether, our analyses shine a spotlight on the entrenched racial segregation in the US as well as how it may influence the mobility patterns, urban forms, and health disparities during the COVID-19.
    • Flatten the curve: Empirical evidence on how non-pharmaceutical interventions substituted pharmaceutical treatments during COVID-19 pandemic

      Luo, Weiyu; Guo, Wei; Hu, Songhua; Yang, Mofeng; Hu, Xinyuan; Xiong, Chenfeng (Public Library of Science, 2021-10-11)
      During the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Non-Pharmaceutical and Pharmaceutical treatments were alternative strategies for governments to intervene. Though many of these intervention methods proved to be effective to stop the spread of COVID-19, i.e., lockdown and curfew, they also posed risk to the economy; in such a scenario, an analysis on how to strike a balance becomes urgent. Our research leverages the mobility big data from the University of Maryland COVID-19 Impact Analysis Platform and employs the Generalized Additive Model (GAM), to understand how the social demographic variables, NPTs (Non-Pharmaceutical Treatments) and PTs (Pharmaceutical Treatments) affect the New Death Rate (NDR) at county-level. We also portray the mutual and interactive effects of NPTs and PTs on NDR. Our results show that there exists a specific usage rate of PTs where its marginal effect starts to suppress the NDR growth, and this specific rate can be reduced through implementing the NPTs. Copyright: © 2021 Luo et al.
    • Mobile device data reveal the dynamics in a positive relationship between human mobility and COVID-19 infections

      Xiong, Chenfeng; Hu, Songhua; Yang, Mofeng; Luo, Weiyu; Zhang, Lei (National Academy of Sciences, 2020-10-15)
      Accurately estimating human mobility and gauging its relationship with virus transmission is critical for the control of COVID-19 spreading. Using mobile device location data of over 100 million monthly active samples, we compute origin-destination travel demand and aggregate mobility inflow at each US county from March 1 to June 9, 2020. Then, we quantify the change of mobility inflow across the nation and statistically model the time-varying relationship between inflow and the infections. We find that external travel to other counties decreased by 35% soon after the nation entered the emergency situation, but recovered rapidly during the partial reopening phase. Moreover, our simultaneous equations analysis highlights the dynamics in a positive relationship between mobility inflow and the number of infections during the COVID-19 onset. This relationship is found to be increasingly stronger in partially reopened regions. Our study provides a quick reference and timely data availability for researchers and decision makers to understand the national mobility trends before and during the pandemic. The modeling results can be used to predict mobility and transmissions risks and integrated with epidemics models to further assess the public health outcomes.