Ignoring spatial heterogeneity in drivers of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the US will impede sustained elimination


To dissect the transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 in the United States, we integrate parallel streams of high-resolution data on contact, mobility, seasonality, vaccination and seroprevalence within a metapopulation network. We find the COVID-19 pandemic in the US is characterized by a geographically localized mosaic of transmission along an urban-rural gradient, with many outbreaks sustained by between-county transmission. We detect a dynamic tension between the spatial scale of public health interventions and population susceptibility as pre-pandemic contact is resumed. Further, we identify regions rendered particularly at risk from invasion by variants of concern due to spatial connectivity. These findings emphasize the public health importance of accounting for the hierarchy of spatial scales in transmission and the heterogeneous impacts of mobility on the landscape of contagion risk.

On the medRxiv
Eugenio Valdano
Eugenio Valdano
Principal Investigator