A new study by Stanford University and Northwestern University suggests most COVID-19 cases in large cities across the United States stem from visits to just a few types of places. The researchers analyzed hourly cellphone data from 98 million Americans in 10 major cities, tracking their movements to certain non-residential locations or "points-of-interest" while looking at the coronavirus counts in their areas. Based on this information, the published article determined full-service restaurants, gyms, hotels and houses of worship are among the 10 percent of locations that would appear to account for 80 percent of the infections. This determination is not all too surprising as these locations tend to be smaller in size, more crowded, and people dwell there longer. Study co-author and Stanford University Professor Jure Leskovec says “Our work highlights that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing,” suggesting the reduction of these establishments’ capacity to 20 percent, as opposed to shutting them down entirely, could curb transmissions by 80 percent. Also, by capturing who is infected at which locations, the study’s model supports detailed analyses that can inform more effective and equitable policy decisions on how to reopen society safely. More research is needed to determine whether similar findings would emerge among other populations and places.
Jacqueline Howard’s CNN article was referenced for this post. The complete published study can be found in the journal, Nature. Contact ClorDiSys for highly-effective disinfection solutions to combat COVID-19 and other harmful pathogens.