Evaluating Social Distancing Measures and Their Association with the Covid-19 Pandemic in South America
- use of data-driven approach and statistical analysis to understand the people movement during the Covid-19 pandemic and the governments’ responses in terms of social distancing measures, considering different periods and contexts in South America;
- propose the use of a measure of people movement based on Google’s geolocation data for six types of social activities, which can be compared to different geographical units, updated, and which can also be easily replicated by other researchers;
- provide objectivity to the classification of countries in South America as to the strictness level of their measures of social distancing through the use of the Covid stringency index from Oxford Covid-19 Government Response Tracker (OxCGRT), that also represents a comparable measure, with broad and free access, in addition to having daily and routinely updated information;
- using mathematical modelling, we calculate the level of transmission from Covid-19 () for countries of South America, identifying two distinct patterns of transmissibility: a transient and a steady-state period;
- relate the people movement, the strictness degree of social distancing measures and transmission levels of Covid-19 to identify patterns among the countries analysed in South America; and
- undertake a spatial analysis of mobility patterns in three specific countries in South America, and for more granular analysis units (provinces and states) than has generally been used in previous works.
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Google Community Mobility Reports Dataset
2.2. South American Countries and Covid Stringency Index
2.3. Mobility Index
2.4. Reproduction Number
2.5. Spatial Auto-Correlation Analysis
3. Social Distancing, Easing Covid-19 Restrictions and Community Mobility in South America
4. Strictness of Social Distancing Measures and Population Mobility in South America: Is There a Pattern?
4.1. Countries with Lower Levels of Population Mobility
4.2. Countries with Higher Levels of Population Mobility
5. Mobility Pattern, Epidemiological Indicator and Public Policies to Contain the Pandemic in South America
5.1. The Scenario of the Covid-19 Crisis in Two Acts: Transient and Steady-State Periods
5.2. Lessons Learned. Implications of the Scenario for Public Policies Concerned to Covid-19
6. Spatial Analysis of the Inner Mobility Tendencies
6.1. Exploratory Analysis of Spatial Data
6.1.1. Global Moran Index
6.1.2. Local Moran Index: Clusters Formation in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile during the Pandemic
- In the transient period when Covid-19 transmission levels are high and governments are implementing their first measures of social distancing, population adherence to these policies is low. Aspects, such as the population’s lower perception of risk and low level of trust in governments and authorities to deal with the pandemic, may be one of the aspects related to this pattern found;
- in the steady-state period, which corresponds to a period of greater exposure to Covid-19’s social distancing measures and more stable transmission levels, the population’s response to the rigidity of social distancing measures is not always more obedience to social distancing;
- in a more rigid scenario of measures of social distancing, few and small clusters are formed, while, in a less rigid scenario, many and extensive clusters are observed;
- the proposition of cash transfer policies and others supports for informal workers during the pandemic are important to curb population mobility, but are more likely to prosper if they are effective in their implementation and if they are accompanied by coordinated measures of social distancing and health surveillance;
- in the case of Brazil, the formation of extensive mobility clusters may have been a reflection of the absence of clear national guidelines and coordinated with the units of the federation and health authorities to face the pandemic; and
- in the case of Argentina and Chile, that represent middle-income countries in South America, the formation of clusters despite the high level of rigidity of its measures of social distancing and low level of movement of people points to the socioeconomic difficulties of these nations in maintaining only essential economic activities during the pandemic.
8. Study Limitations and Final Considerations
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Country||Informal Employment (%)||Gini Index|
|15 February to 31 May 2020||1 June to 27 October 2020|
|Region||Place||Moran’s I||p-Value||Moran’s I||p-Value|
|Argentina||Retail & recreation||0.2390||0.0530||0.2845||0.0110|
|Grocery & pharmacy||0.1329||0.1180||0.2066||0.0640|
|Brazil||Retail & recreation||0.5414||0.0010||0.5581||0.0010|
|Grocery & pharmacy||0.5501||0.0010||0.4030||0.0030|
|Chile||Retail & recreation||0.0640||0.3260||0.3620||0.0470|
|Grocery & pharmacy||−0.3320||0.1680||−0.0319||0.4390|
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Oliveira, G.L.A.d.; Lima, L.; Silva, I.; Ribeiro-Dantas, M.d.C.; Monteiro, K.H.; Endo, P.T. Evaluating Social Distancing Measures and Their Association with the Covid-19 Pandemic in South America. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2021, 10, 121. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi10030121
Oliveira GLAd, Lima L, Silva I, Ribeiro-Dantas MdC, Monteiro KH, Endo PT. Evaluating Social Distancing Measures and Their Association with the Covid-19 Pandemic in South America. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information. 2021; 10(3):121. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi10030121Chicago/Turabian Style
Oliveira, Gisliany Lillian Alves de, Luciana Lima, Ivanovitch Silva, Marcel da Câmara Ribeiro-Dantas, Kayo Henrique Monteiro, and Patricia Takako Endo. 2021. "Evaluating Social Distancing Measures and Their Association with the Covid-19 Pandemic in South America" ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information 10, no. 3: 121. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi10030121