Background: Currently, the 2019-nCoV has spread to most countries of the world. Understanding the environmental factors that affect the spread of the disease COVID-19 infection is critical to stop the spread of the disease. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether population density is associated with the infection rate of the COVID-19.
Methods: We collected data from official webpages of cities in China and in the US. The data were uploaded on Excel spreadsheets for statistical analyses. We calculated the morbidity and population density of cities and regions in these two countries. We then examined the relationship between the morbidity and other factors.
Results: Our analysis indicated that the population density in cities in Hubei province where the COVID-19 was severe was associated with a higher percentage of morbidity, with an r value of 0.62. Similarly, in the US, the density of 51 states and territories is also associated with morbidity from COVID-19 with an r value of 0.55. In contrast, as a control group, there is no association between the morbidity and population density in 33 other regions of China, where the COVID-19 epidemic is well under control. Interestingly, our study also indicated that these associations were not influenced by the first case of COVID-19. The rate of morbidity and the number of days from the first case in the US has no association, with an r value of -0.1288.
Conclusions: Population density is positively associated with the percentage of patients with COVID-19 infection in the population. Our data support the importance of such as social distancing and travel restriction in the prevention of COVID-19 spread.
Competing Interest Statement
The authors have declared no competing interest.
This work was partially supported by funding from merit grant I01 BX000671 to WG from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Memphis, TN, USA, and grant 90DDUC0058 to CG from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living.
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