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Population density as experienced by the average person better explains variations in the rate of spread of COVID-19

6 May 2020

A preprint by a team including Bristol statistician Professor Oliver Johnson shows the importance of ‘lived population density’ as a measure to track the spread of the disease.

The preprint demonstrates that population density is important in the spread of COVID-19, but that non-standard ways of measuring density do a better job of explaining it than the usual “people divided by area” measure.

The researchers look at countries across Europe, as well as different US states.

Professor Johnson said: “Everyone is interested in understanding why coronavirus has spread at different rates in different countries, and this work helps with that. As a densely populated country, it is not surprising that the UK has seen a rapid growth in cases.”

Further information

Read the preprint at: https://arxiv.org/pdf/2005.01167.pdf

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