The impact of policy measures on human mobility, COVID-19 outbreak, and mortality in the US: a spatiotemporal perspective

Authors: Yun Li*, george mason university, Moming Li, University of California at San Francisco, Megan Rice, Carnegie Mellon University, Haoyuan Zhang, Peking University, Dexuan Sha, George Mason University, Yanfang Su, Washington University, Chaowei Yang, George Mason University
Topics: Political Geography, Earth Science
Keywords: social distancing measures, COVID-19, policy analysis, human mobility
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 38
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Social distancing is widely practiced and believed to be an effective measure of containing the rapid spread of COVID-19. Different levels of US government have published policies to restrict human activity in attempts to control the spread of the virus. To quantify the impact and study the effectiveness of various social distancing measures, we analyze seven policies (school closures, workplace closures, cancellation of public events, public information campaigns, cancellation of public transport, internal movement restrictions, and travel controls) and their effects on various types of mobility as well as growth rates of confirmed and death cases, with special emphasis on their spatiotemporal trajectories and geographical interconnection. The models developed and analysis results demonstrate that policies restricting internal movements are promising in regard to decreasing both the confirmed case and death case growth rates. Although policies restricting internal movements were the most effective in reducing COVID-19 confirmed and death case growth rates, public information campaigns and workplace closures also showed significant decreases in the COVID-19 confirmed case growth rate. From a policymaking perspective, this study integrates geographical, demographical, and other key factors into a comprehensive modeling framework to assess the effectiveness of social distancing measures. The results of this study will provide policymakers with better knowledge of the effectiveness of policies so they can take appropriate, necessary, and practical steps to control this pandemic.

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