• 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.