Reduction in mobility and COVID-19 transmission

Nouvellet, Pierre, Bhatia, Sangeeta, Cori, Anne, Ainslie, Kylie E C, Baguelin, Marc, Bhatt, Samir, Boonyasiri, Adhiratha, Brazeau, Nicholas F, Cattarino, Lorenzo, Cooper, Laura V, Coupland, Helen, Cucunuba, Zulma M, Cuomo-Dannenburg, Gina, Dighe, Amy and others, (2021) Reduction in mobility and COVID-19 transmission. Nature Communications, 12 (a1090). ISSN 2041-1723

[img] PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB)


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, countries have sought to control SARS-CoV-2 transmission by restricting population movement through social distancing interventions, thus reducing the number of contacts. Mobility data represent an important proxy measure of social distancing, and here, we characterise the relationship between transmission and mobility for 52 countries around the world. Transmission significantly decreased with the initial reduction in mobility in 73% of the countries analysed, but we found evidence of decoupling of transmission and mobility following the relaxation of strict control measures for 80% of countries. For the majority of countries, mobility explained a substantial proportion of the variation in transmissibility (median adjusted R-squared: 48%, interquartile range - IQR - across countries [27–77%]). Where a change in the relationship occurred, predictive ability decreased after the relaxation; from a median adjusted R-squared of 74% (IQR across countries [49–91%]) pre-relaxation, to a median adjusted R-squared of 30% (IQR across countries [12–48%]) post-relaxation. In countries with a clear relationship between mobility and transmission both before and after strict control measures were relaxed, mobility was associated with lower transmission rates after control measures were relaxed indicating that the beneficial effects of ongoing social distancing behaviours were substantial.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Algorithms, COVID-19, Communicable Disease Control, Global Health, Humans, Models, Theoretical, Pandemics, Physical Distancing, Quarantine, SARS-CoV-2
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2021 16:51
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2021 13:30

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update