Research Team Sees Major Shift in Relationship Between State-by-State Traffic and COVID-19 Cases, Offering Insights Into Outcomes of Lockdown Policies

“In many states, traffic appears to be a leading indicator, increasing first, with COVID-19 cases rising after a delay of up to 11 days,” said professor Kevin Gurney, head of the NAU research group analyzing the data.
Northern Arizona University
9-Jun-2020 4:30 PM EDT, by Northern Arizona University

Newswise — A research team at Northern Arizona University has been exploring the relationship between new data on daily traffic and the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States. The analysis shows that prior to the end of March, U.S. traffic activity—a useful proxy for a return to pre-COVID economic activity—declined rapidly as the number of COVID-19 cases increased. However, since that time, traffic activity and COVID-19 cases have been exhibiting strong regional patterns, with states such as California and Texas showing traffic increases followed by a rise in COVID-19 cases. Other states such as New York and New Jersey, by contrast, show a rise in traffic activity but a decline in COVID-19 cases.

“During March, the country appeared to move as one, with traffic activity declining dramatically as COVID-19 cases increased. From April, that began to break down. Now we see traffic activity increasing everywhere, but with a very different COVID-19 trend from state to state,” said lead research scientist Pawlok Dass, a postdoctoral scholar in NAU’s School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems.

The team used newly available traffic data from StreetLight, a platform that estimates the number of Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT) using anonymized location data from smartphone and navigation devices. After aggregating the original county-scale data to the state-scale, the team combined the daily, state-scale VMT and COVID-19 statistics with daily COVID-19 data made available by The New York Times based on reports from state and local health agencies to explore to what extent traffic activity might act as a proxy for the spread of COVID-19.

“The availability of these types of mobility data have been one of the positive outcomes of this difficult period,” Dass said. “Our ability to understand elements of human activity in response to this pandemic has been advanced significantly by data such as what we are getting from StreetLight.” 

In addition to the different state-by-state trends in relation to traffic activity, the state-by-state breakdown reveals that some states show a strong time lag between traffic and COVID-19.

“In many states, traffic appears to be a leading indicator, increasing first, with COVID-19 cases rising after a delay of up to 11 days,” said professor Kevin Gurney, head of the NAU research group analyzing the data. “Notable exceptions to this are New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts where, although traffic is gradually returning to normal, COVID-19 cases are steady or declining.” 

The team speculated that states with increasing traffic but little increase in COVID-19 cases may offer insights on what policies or guidelines are showing the greatest success at keeping new COVID-19 cases low while emerging from lockdown.

The researchers caution that the analysis remains preliminary and is sensitive to the veracity and comprehensiveness of testing and reporting. Final analysis will be included in a future scientific publication.

 




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 3411
Newswise: Volunteers receiving government aid while unemployed face scrutiny, bias from public
Released: 28-Sep-2020 12:05 AM EDT
Volunteers receiving government aid while unemployed face scrutiny, bias from public
Indiana University

With the worldwide spike in unemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many people may turn to volunteerism as a way to pass their newly found free time. But new research suggests that volunteers who also receive government aid are often judged negatively as "wasting time" that could be used to find paid employment.

Newswise: 1 in 3 Parents Plan to Skip Flu Shots for Their Kids During COVID-19 Pandemic
22-Sep-2020 2:00 PM EDT
1 in 3 Parents Plan to Skip Flu Shots for Their Kids During COVID-19 Pandemic
Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

Just a third of parents believe that having their child get the flu vaccine is more important this year than previous years, a national poll suggests.

Newswise: Last-resort life support option helped majority of critically ill COVID-19 patients survive, global study shows
24-Sep-2020 3:20 PM EDT
Last-resort life support option helped majority of critically ill COVID-19 patients survive, global study shows
Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

It saved lives in past epidemics of lung-damaging viruses. Now, the life-support option known as ECMO appears to be doing the same for many of the critically ill COVID-19 patients who receive it. Patients in a new international study faced a staggeringly high risk of death, as ventilators failed to support their lungs. But after they were placed on ECMO, their actual death rate was less than 40%.

Released: 25-Sep-2020 5:05 PM EDT
Case Western Reserve University researchers to examine how COVID-19 ravaged America’s nursing homes
Case Western Reserve University

Within a few months, federal officials reported that one of every five nursing homes had experienced a death from the novel coronavirus. Not long after, several media outlets published independent analysis finding that an estimated 40% of the fatalities related to COVID-19 took place in nursing homes. Rather than surrender to the terrifying trend, Case Western Reserve researchers saw an opportunity to help.

Released: 25-Sep-2020 4:15 PM EDT
Faced with pandemic shortages, researchers combine heat and humidity to disinfect N95 masks for reuse
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

They found that gently heating N95 masks in high relative humidity could inactivate SARS-CoV-2 virus trapped within the masks, without degrading the masks’ performance.

Released: 25-Sep-2020 3:30 PM EDT
Team assessing if dual-antibody injection prevents COVID-19 illness
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

A combination antibody treatment for preventing COVID-19 illness in individuals who have had sustained exposure to someone with the virus is being studied by researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). The clinical trial is enrolling patients at Harris Health System’s Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital.

Released: 25-Sep-2020 2:30 PM EDT
Yes, Wisconsin Republicans have the power to overturn the extended mask mandate order by Governor Evers
Newswise

Republicans have the legal power to reverse the order by Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers that extends the mask mandate.

Released: 25-Sep-2020 1:55 PM EDT
How do Americans view the virus? Anthropology professor examines attitudes of COVID
Northern Arizona University

In her ongoing research about Americans' responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, Northern Arizona University anthropology professor Lisa Hardy and her collaborators have talked to dozens of people.

Released: 25-Sep-2020 12:55 PM EDT
During pandemic, racism puts additional stress on Asian Americans
Massachusetts General Hospital

Many people are feeling anxious during these uncertain times as they navigate the risks associated with COVID-19 and experience the tension from physical distancing or isolation for what can seem like an eternity.


Showing results

110 of 3411

close
0.89046