Effects of social distancing on the spreading of COVID-19 inferred from mobile phone data

Hamid Khataee, Istvan Scheuring, Andras Czirok, Zoltan Neufeld

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Received date: 2nd September 2020

A better understanding of how the COVID-19 pandemic responds to social distancing efforts is required for the control of future outbreaks and to calibrate partial lock-downs. We present quantitative relationships between key parameters characterizing the COVID-19 epidemiology and social distancing efforts of nine selected European countries. Epidemiological parameters were extracted from the number of daily deaths data, while mitigation efforts are estimated from mobile phone tracking data. The decrease of the basic reproductive number (R0) as well as the duration of the initial exponential expansion phase of the epidemic strongly correlates with the magnitude of mobility reduction. Utilizing these relationships we decipher the relative impact of the timing and the extent of social distancing on the total death burden of the pandemic.

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This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on a preprint server, which is currently undergoing peer review at Scientific Reports. The findings have yet to be thoroughly evaluated, nor has a decision on ultimate publication been made. Therefore, the results reported should not be considered conclusive, and these findings should not be used to inform clinical practice, or public health policy, or be promoted as verified information.

Scientific Reports

Nature Research, Springer Nature