A new preprint article titled “Revealing geographic transmission pattern of COVID-19 using neighborhood- level simulation with human mobility data and SEIR model: A Case Study of South Carolina”, led by our student Huan Ning is now available on medRxiv.
Abstract: Direct human physical contact accelerates COVID-19 transmission. Smartphone mobility data has been an emerging data source to reveal fine-grained human mobility, which can be used to estimate the intensity of physical contact surrounding different locations. Our study applied smartphone mobility data to simulate the second wave spreading of COVID-19 in January 2021 in three major metropolitan statistical areas (Columbia, Greenville, and Charleston) in South Carolina, United States. Based on the simulation, the number of historical county-level COVID-19 cases was allocated to neighborhoods (Census blockgroups) and points of interest (POIs), and the transmission rate of each allocated place was estimated. The result reveals that the COVID-19 infections during the study period mainly occurred in neighborhoods (86%), and the number is approximately proportional to the neighborhood’s population. Restaurants and elementary and secondary schools contributed more COVID-19 infections than other POI categories. The simulation results for the coastal tourism Charleston area show high transmission rates in POIs related to travel and leisure activities. The results suggest that the neighborhood-level infectious controlling measures are critical in reducing COVID-19 infections. We also found that the households of lower socioeconomic status may be an umbrella against infection due to fewer visits to places such as malls and restaurants associated with their low financial status. Control measures should be tailored to different geographic locations since transmission rates and infection counts of POI categories vary among metropolitan areas.
Read full article here.