Nov 11 2020
06:12 am


A small minority of places where people go frequently account for a large majority of coronavirus infections in big cities, according to a new modeling study.

The study, published in the journal Nature on Tuesday, suggests that reducing the maximum occupancy in such places -- including restaurants, gyms, cafes and hotels -- can slow the spread of illness substantially.
"On average across metro areas, full-service restaurants, gyms, hotels, cafes, religious organizations, and limited-service restaurants produced the largest predicted increases in infections when reopened," the researchers wrote in their study.

The model predicted that "infections are happening very unevenly -- that there are about 10% of points-of-interest that account for over 80% of all infections, and these are places that are smaller, more crowded and people dwell there longer," Leskovec said during Tuesday's briefing.

The model also predicted that people living in neighborhoods with the lowest income, based on Census data, were more likely to have been infected -- driven in part by how places in those areas tended to be smaller in size, leading to crowding and increasing the risk of spread.

Study: Mobility network models of COVID-19 explain inequities and inform reopening: Our model predicts that a small minority of “superspreader” POIs [points of interest] account for a large majority of infections and that restricting maximum occupancy at each POI is more effective than uniformly reducing mobility.


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