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EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-310203


Background: Restrictions to human mobility had a significant role in limiting SARS-CoV-2 spread. It has been suggested that environmental seasonality might affect viral transmissibility. Our study retrospectively investigates the combined effect that seasonal environmental factors and human mobility play on transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 in Lombardy, in 2020.Methods: Environmental data were collected from accredited open-source web services. Aggregated mobility data for different points of interests were collected from Google Community Reports. Rt was used as a proxy for SARS-CoV-2 transmissibility. Assuming a non-linear correlation between selected variables, we used a Generalized Additive Model (GAM) to investigate with univariate and multivariate analyses the association between seasonal environmental factors (UV-index, temperature, humidity, and atmospheric pressure), location-specific mobility indices, and Rt .Findings: UV-index was the most effective environmental variable in predicting Rt . An optimal two-week lag-effect between changes in explanatory variables and Rt was selected. The association between Rt variations and individually taken mobility indices differed: Grocery & Pharmacy, Transit Station and Workplaces displayed the best performances in predicting Rt when individually added to the multivariate model together with UV-index, accounting for 85·0%, 85·5% and 82·6% of Rt variance, respectively.Interpretation: According to our results, both seasonality and social interaction policies played a significant role in curbing the pandemic. Non-linear models including UV-index and location-specific mobility indices can predict a considerable amount of SARS-CoV-2 transmissibility in Lombardy during 2020.Funding Statement: The authors did not receive any specific funding for this manuscript.Declaration of Interests: MF is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Neurology;received compensation for consulting services and speaking activities from Biogen Idec, Merck-Serono, Novartis, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries;and receives research support from Biogen Idec, Merck-Serono, Novartis, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Roche, the Italian Ministry of Health, Fondazione Italiana Sclerosi Multipla, and ARiSLA (Fondazione Italiana di Ricerca per la SLA). YMF, LB, GS, TR and MV declare no competing interests.