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Covid mobility restrictions effective for short period: Study

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New York, April 24 (IANS) As many places across the globe face mobility restrictions due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, a new study has found that it may be effective only for a short period.

The study, led by Junghwan Kim from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the US, examined people’s mobility for seven months during the pandemic in the US using publicly available, anonymized mobile phone data.

“We found that, overall, mobility declined sharply in March and April but quickly recovered to the pre-pandemic mobility levels from April through June, forming a V-shaped data curve,” Kim said.

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“During the second wave that occurred between June and September, we saw very little change in mobility despite the Covid-19 pandemic becoming more severe,” Kim added.

For the study, published in the Journal of Transport Geography, the team used mobile device data from 2,639 of the 3,000 US counties, excluding those with too little data, those with excessively high mobility levels and those with incomplete demographic data.

A closer look at the data also showed that mobility changes are associated with political partisanship, poverty, mobility restriction and high Covid-19 case numbers.

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The team found that counties with more poor people showed only a slight decrease in mobility throughout the study period and that state-wide Covid-19 mobility restrictions were more effective during March and April than from April to June.

The study also alerts authorities to the need for more manageable travel restrictions and policies that reduce Covid-19 exposure risk to essential workers.

–IANS

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