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expert reaction to study looking at human movement patterns and spread of COVID-19

A study published in Nature looks at human movement patterns and COVID-19 transmission.


Dr Julian Tang, Honorary Associate Professor/ Clinical Virologist, Respiratory Sciences, University of Leicester, said:

“The results reported from this study may not be that surprising – and they make intuitive sense – unfortunately highlighting again how this virus exploits socio-economic disparities across populations.

“This ratio sounds familiar when you recall other studies on superspreaders, one finding that 19% of people may be responsible for 80% of secondary cases of COVID-191.

“If these superspreading events occurred mainly at these superspreading locations, by shutting down these key locations could we also neutralise many of these key superspreaders and/or superspreading events – and allow other businesses to remain open for longer?

“In fact, we will still need to restrict the movement of people – otherwise other locations will quickly become key superspreading locations as people congregate there.

“The use of mobile phone data and modelling are powerful tools to help us understand how the virus spreads, but we need to be careful about the interpretation as what may apply in one population may not necessarily apply elsewhere.”




‘Mobility network models of COVID-19 explain inequities and inform reopening’ by Serina Chang et al. was published in Nature at 4pm UK TIME on Tuesday 10 November 2020.


Declared interests

None received.

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