How social distancing, mobility, and preventive policies affect COVID-19 outcomes: Big data-driven evidence from the District of Columbia-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) megaregion.
PublisherPublic Library of Science
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AbstractMany factors play a role in outcomes of an emerging highly contagious disease such as COVID-19. Identification and better understanding of these factors are critical in planning and implementation of effective response strategies during such public health crises. The objective of this study is to examine the impact of factors related to social distancing, human mobility, enforcement strategies, hospital capacity, and testing capacity on COVID-19 outcomes within counties located in District of Columbia as well as the states of Maryland and Virginia. Longitudinal data have been used in the analysis to model county-level COVID-19 infection and mortality rates. These data include big location-based service data, which were collected from anonymized mobile devices and characterize various social distancing and human mobility measures within the study area during the pandemic. The results provide empirical evidence that lower rates of COVID-19 infection and mortality are linked with increased levels of social distancing and reduced levels of travel-particularly by public transit modes. Other preventive strategies and polices also prove to be influential in COVID-19 outcomes. Most notably, lower COVID-19 infection and mortality rates are linked with stricter enforcement policies and more severe penalties for violating stay-at-home orders. Further, policies that allow gradual relaxation of social distancing measures and travel restrictions as well as those requiring usage of a face mask are related to lower rates of COVID-19 infections and deaths. Additionally, increased access to ventilators and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds, which represent hospital capacity, are linked with lower COVID-19 mortality rates. On the other hand, gaps in testing capacity are related to higher rates of COVID-19 infection. The results also provide empirical evidence for reports suggesting that certain minority groups such as African Americans and Hispanics are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Identifier to cite or link to this itemhttp://hdl.handle.net/10713/18058
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