Relational Mobility Predicts Faster Spread of COVID-19: A 39-Country Study.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

It has become increasingly clear that COVID-19 is transmitted between individuals. It stands to reason that the spread of the virus depends on sociocultural ecologies that facilitate or inhibit social contact. In particular, the community-level tendency to engage with strangers and freely choose friends, called relational mobility , creates increased opportunities to interact with a larger and more variable range of other people. It may therefore be associated with a faster spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19. Here, we tested this possibility by analyzing growth curves of confirmed cases of and deaths due to COVID-19 in the first 30 days of the outbreaks in 39 countries. We found that growth was significantly accelerated as a function of a country-wise measure of relational mobility. This relationship was robust either with or without a set of control variables, including demographic variables, reporting bias, testing availability, and cultural dimensions of individualism, tightness, and government efficiency. Policy implications are also discussed.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Salvador, CE; Berg, MK; Yu, Q; San Martin, A; Kitayama, S

Published Date

  • October 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 31 / 10

Start / End Page

  • 1236 - 1244

PubMed ID

  • 32915703

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1467-9280

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0956-7976

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0956797620958118

Language

  • eng