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The impact of human mobility networks on the global spread of COVID-19

Human mobility networks are crucial for a better understanding and controlling the spread of epidemics.

Here, we study the impact of human mobility networks on the COVID-19 onset in 203 different countries.

We use exponential random graph models to perform an analysis of the country-to-country global spread of COVID-19.

We find that most countries had similar levels of virus spreading, with only a few acting as the main global transmitters.

Our evidence suggests that migration and tourism inflows increase the probability of COVID-19 case importations while controlling for contiguity, continent co-location and sharing a language. Moreover, we find that air flights were the dominant mode of transportation while male and returning travellers were the main carriers.

In conclusion, a mix of mobility and geography factors predicts the COVID-19 global transmission from one country to another.

These findings have implications for non-pharmaceutical public health interventions and the management of transborder human circulation.


M. Hâncean, M. Slavinec, M. Perc, The impact of human mobility networks on the global spread of COVID-19, Journal of Complex Networks 8(6) (2020) cnaa041.

Matjaz Perc

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