The Covid-19 pandemic appears to follow highways as it spreads, researchers from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania said Tuesday.
The CHOP-based Policy Lab project team monitored cases in 384 U.S. counties with active epidemics.
What their model sees is that predictably, when places open, people don’t stay home. As more people communicate with others, the disease spreads. Cases seem to move from south to north along major traffic corridors – like highways I-95 on the east coast and I-85 in the south and I-5 and I-10 in the west – said the team.
“We observe this data every week and we have noticed a trend along the highways. We don’t see traffic with this model, but we thought it was interesting, “ Policy lab spokeswoman Lauren Walens said.
It seems to slow down the spread of the disease the same as from the beginning: stay at home, wear a mask, wash your hands. “Personal vigilance,” Walens said, is key.
“It’s impossible to know if we all know the mask or not,” Walens added. “There are all these variables. Temperature is one of them, but there’s little difference between the weather in Atlanta and Jacksonville, so the weather can’t explain the difference in the two cities. We think it’s partly mobility.”
The next update of the group model will be released on Wednesday.