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Infectiousness of places - Impact of multiscale human activity places in the transmission of COVID-19.

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Zhang, Zhu 
Zhang, Weiyi 
Zhuang, Shengsheng 


COVID-19 raises attention to epidemic transmission in various places. This study analyzes the transmission risks associated with human activity places at multiple scales, including different types of settlements and eleven types of specific establishments (restaurants, bars, etc.), using COVID-19 data in 906 urban areas across four continents. Through a difference-in-difference approach, we identify the causal effects of activities at various places on epidemic transmission. We find that at the micro-scale, though the transmission risks at different establishments differ across countries, sports, entertainment, and catering establishments are generally more infectious. At the macro-scale, contradicting common beliefs, it is consistent across countries that transmission does not increase with settlement size and density. It is also consistent that specific establishments play a lesser role in transmission in larger settlements, suggesting more transmission happening elsewhere. These findings contribute to building a system of knowledge on the linkage between places, human activities, and disease transmission.


Funder: Beijing Social Science Foundation 20GLA003 Tsinghua University Spring Breeze Fund 2021Z99CFY038 Institute of Public Governance of Peking University YQZX202005, TDXM202104


Economics, Geography, Risk factors

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NPJ Urban Sustain

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
National Natural Science Foundation of China (National Science Foundation of China) (52008005)