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1.
Nature ; 610(7930): 154-160, 2022 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1991629

##### ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 Delta (Pango lineage B.1.617.2) variant of concern spread globally, causing resurgences of COVID-19 worldwide1,2. The emergence of the Delta variant in the UK occurred on the background of a heterogeneous landscape of immunity and relaxation of non-pharmaceutical interventions. Here we analyse 52,992 SARS-CoV-2 genomes from England together with 93,649 genomes from the rest of the world to reconstruct the emergence of Delta and quantify its introduction to and regional dissemination across England in the context of changing travel and social restrictions. Using analysis of human movement, contact tracing and virus genomic data, we find that the geographic focus of the expansion of Delta shifted from India to a more global pattern in early May 2021. In England, Delta lineages were introduced more than 1,000 times and spread nationally as non-pharmaceutical interventions were relaxed. We find that hotel quarantine for travellers reduced onward transmission from importations; however, the transmission chains that later dominated the Delta wave in England were seeded before travel restrictions were introduced. Increasing inter-regional travel within England drove the nationwide dissemination of Delta, with some cities receiving more than 2,000 observable lineage introductions from elsewhere. Subsequently, increased levels of local population mixing-and not the number of importations-were associated with the faster relative spread of Delta. The invasion dynamics of Delta depended on spatial heterogeneity in contact patterns, and our findings will inform optimal spatial interventions to reduce the transmission of current and future variants of concern, such as Omicron (Pango lineage B.1.1.529).

##### Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Cities/epidemiology , Contact Tracing , England/epidemiology , Genome, Viral/genetics , Humans , Quarantine/legislation & jurisprudence , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Travel/legislation & jurisprudence
2.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 3816, 2022 03 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1735273

##### ABSTRACT

The ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has been holding the world hostage for several years now. Mobility is key to viral spreading and its restriction is the main non-pharmaceutical interventions to fight the virus expansion. Previous works have shown a connection between the structural organization of cities and the movement patterns of their residents. This puts urban centers in the focus of epidemic surveillance and interventions. Here we show that the organization of urban flows has a tremendous impact on disease spreading and on the amenability of different mitigation strategies. By studying anonymous and aggregated intra-urban flows in a variety of cities in the United States and other countries, and a combination of empirical analysis and analytical methods, we demonstrate that the response of cities to epidemic spreading can be roughly classified in two major types according to the overall organization of those flows. Hierarchical cities, where flows are concentrated primarily between mobility hotspots, are particularly vulnerable to the rapid spread of epidemics. Nevertheless, mobility restrictions in such types of cities are very effective in mitigating the spread of a virus. Conversely, in sprawled cities which present many centers of activity, the spread of an epidemic is much slower, but the response to mobility restrictions is much weaker and less effective. Investing resources on early monitoring and prompt ad-hoc interventions in more vulnerable cities may prove helpful in containing and reducing the impact of future pandemics.

##### Subject(s)
Communicable Diseases/transmission , Models, Theoretical , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Cities , Communicable Diseases/epidemiology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology
3.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(23)2021 11 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1542548

##### ABSTRACT

Mobility restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic ostensibly prevented the public from transmitting the disease in public places, but they also hampered outdoor recreation, despite the importance of blue-green spaces (e.g., parks and natural areas) for physical and mental health. We assess whether restrictions on human movement, particularly in blue-green spaces, affected the transmission of COVID-19. Our assessment uses a spatially resolved dataset of COVID-19 case numbers for 848 administrative units across 153 countries during the first year of the pandemic (February 2020 to February 2021). We measure mobility in blue-green spaces with planetary-scale aggregate and anonymized mobility flows derived from mobile phone tracking data. We then use machine learning forecast models and linear mixed-effects models to explore predictors of COVID-19 growth rates. After controlling for a number of environmental factors, we find no evidence that increased visits to blue-green space increase COVID-19 transmission. By contrast, increases in the total mobility and relaxation of other non-pharmaceutical interventions such as containment and closure policies predict greater transmission. Ultraviolet radiation stands out as the strongest environmental mitigant of COVID-19 spread, while temperature, humidity, wind speed, and ambient air pollution have little to no effect. Taken together, our analyses produce little evidence to support public health policies that restrict citizens from outdoor mobility in blue-green spaces, which corroborates experimental studies showing low risk of outdoor COVID-19 transmission. However, we acknowledge and discuss some of the challenges of big data approaches to ecological regression analyses such as this, and outline promising directions and opportunities for future research.

##### Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , Pandemics , Parks, Recreational , SARS-CoV-2 , Ultraviolet Rays
4.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 15389, 2021 07 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1331395

##### ABSTRACT

Understanding seasonal human mobility at subnational scales has important implications across sciences, from urban planning efforts to disease modelling and control. Assessing how, when, and where populations move over the course of the year, however, requires spatially and temporally resolved datasets spanning large periods of time, which can be rare, contain sensitive information, or may be proprietary. Here, we aim to explore how a set of broadly available covariates can describe typical seasonal subnational mobility in Kenya pre-COVID-19, therefore enabling better modelling of seasonal mobility across low- and middle-income country (LMIC) settings in non-pandemic settings. To do this, we used the Google Aggregated Mobility Research Dataset, containing anonymized mobility flows aggregated over users who have turned on the Location History setting, which is off by default. We combined this with socioeconomic and geospatial covariates from 2018 to 2019 to quantify seasonal changes in domestic and international mobility patterns across years. We undertook a spatiotemporal analysis within a Bayesian framework to identify relevant geospatial and socioeconomic covariates explaining human movement patterns, while accounting for spatial and temporal autocorrelations. Typical pre-pandemic mobility patterns in Kenya mostly consisted of shorter, within-county trips, followed by longer domestic travel between counties and international travel, which is important in establishing how mobility patterns changed post-pandemic. Mobility peaked in August and December, closely corresponding to school holiday seasons, which was found to be an important predictor in our model. We further found that socioeconomic variables including urbanicity, poverty, and female education strongly explained mobility patterns, in addition to geospatial covariates such as accessibility to major population centres and temperature. These findings derived from novel data sources elucidate broad spatiotemporal patterns of how populations move within and beyond Kenya, and can be easily generalized to other LMIC settings before the COVID-19 pandemic. Understanding such pre-pandemic mobility patterns provides a crucial baseline to interpret both how these patterns have changed as a result of the pandemic, as well as whether human mobility patterns have been permanently altered once the pandemic subsides. Our findings outline key correlates of mobility using broadly available covariates, alleviating the data bottlenecks of highly sensitive and proprietary mobile phone datasets, which many researchers do not have access to. These results further provide novel insight on monitoring mobility proxies in the context of disease surveillance and control efforts through LMIC settings.

##### Subject(s)
Population Dynamics/statistics & numerical data , Cell Phone , Geographic Information Systems , Humans , Kenya , Models, Statistical , Risk Factors , Seasons , Socioeconomic Factors , Spatio-Temporal Analysis , Travel/statistics & numerical data
5.
Nature ; 595(7869): 713-717, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1287812

##### ABSTRACT

After the first wave of SARS-CoV-2 infections in spring 2020, Europe experienced a resurgence of the virus starting in late summer 2020 that was deadlier and more difficult to contain1. Relaxed intervention measures and summer travel have been implicated as drivers of the second wave2. Here we build a phylogeographical model to evaluate how newly introduced lineages, as opposed to the rekindling of persistent lineages, contributed to the resurgence of COVID-19 in Europe. We inform this model using genomic, mobility and epidemiological data from 10 European countries and estimate that in many countries more than half of the lineages circulating in late summer resulted from new introductions since 15 June 2020. The success in onward transmission of newly introduced lineages was negatively associated with the local incidence of COVID-19 during this period. The pervasive spread of variants in summer 2020 highlights the threat of viral dissemination when restrictions are lifted, and this needs to be carefully considered in strategies to control the current spread of variants that are more transmissible and/or evade immunity. Our findings indicate that more effective and coordinated measures are required to contain the spread through cross-border travel even as vaccination is reducing disease burden.

##### Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Europe/epidemiology , Genome, Viral/genetics , Humans , Incidence , Locomotion , Phylogeny , Phylogeography , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Time Factors , Travel/statistics & numerical data
6.
ArXiv ; 2020 Dec 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1008520

##### ABSTRACT

The Mumbai Suburban Railways, \emph{locals}, are a key transit infrastructure of the city and is crucial for resuming normal economic activity. To reduce disease transmission, policymakers can enforce reduced crowding and mandate wearing of masks. \emph{Cohorting} -- forming groups of travelers that always travel together, is an additional policy to reduce disease transmission on \textit{locals} without severe restrictions. Cohorting allows us to: ($i$) form traveler bubbles, thereby decreasing the number of distinct interactions over time; ($ii$) potentially quarantine an entire cohort if a single case is detected, making contact tracing more efficient, and ($iii$) target cohorts for testing and early detection of symptomatic as well as asymptomatic cases. Studying impact of cohorts using compartmental models is challenging because of the ensuing representational complexity. Agent-based models provide a natural way to represent cohorts along with the representation of the cohort members with the larger social network. This paper describes a novel multi-scale agent-based model to study the impact of cohorting strategies on COVID-19 dynamics in Mumbai. We achieve this by modeling the Mumbai urban region using a detailed agent-based model comprising of 12.4 million agents. Individual cohorts and their inter-cohort interactions as they travel on locals are modeled using local mean field approximations. The resulting multi-scale model in conjunction with a detailed disease transmission and intervention simulator is used to assess various cohorting strategies. The results provide a quantitative trade-off between cohort size and its impact on disease dynamics and well being. The results show that cohorts can provide significant benefit in terms of reduced transmission without significantly impacting ridership and or economic \& social activity.