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On the interplay of regional mobility, social connectedness and the spread of COVID‐19 in Germany

Cornelius Fritz and Göran Kauermann

Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, 2022, vol. 185, issue 1, 400-424

Abstract: Since the primary mode of respiratory virus transmission is person‐to‐person interaction, we are required to reconsider physical interaction patterns to mitigate the number of people infected with COVID‐19. While research has shown that non‐pharmaceutical interventions (NPI) had an evident impact on national mobility patterns, we investigate the relative regional mobility behaviour to assess the effect of human movement on the spread of COVID‐19. In particular, we explore the impact of human mobility and social connectivity derived from Facebook activities on the weekly rate of new infections in Germany between 3 March and 22 June 2020. Our results confirm that reduced social activity lowers the infection rate, accounting for regional and temporal patterns. The extent of social distancing, quantified by the percentage of people staying put within a federal administrative district, has an overall negative effect on the incidence of infections. Additionally, our results show spatial infection patterns based on geographical as well as social distances.

Date: 2022
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