Cities, Crowding and the Coronavirus: Predicting Contagion Risk Hotspots

In response to COVID-19 the World Bank has developed a new methodology to identify contagion risk hotspots in urban areas. Their recommendations for local governments on how to respond have been published in their new report.

© Pixabay / Gerd Altmann

Dense, crowded and interconnected – cities are microcosms characterized by the daily routines of their inhabitants. Currently however, these routines are being significantly disrupted by local-government-imposed restrictions to counter the spread of COVID-19. In this context the dimension of space density in cities needs to be granted sufficient attention to identify contagion risk hotspots.

In an effort to pin-point these hotspots, the World Bank has developed a new methodology that uses data from Facebook, WorldPop and OpenStreetMap to identify public places that do not allow citizens to keep a two meter distance from one. Based on this analysis, the World Bank has issued a report that contains concrete recommendations on what local governments can do to reduce the risk of contagion for these identified hotspots such as establishing water distribution points, portable hand washing sites, or distributing pee-poo bags. Long-term they recommend investing in slum upgrade programs, infrastructure and services and a better standard of housing.

To read the entire report, please visit the World Bank Group’s website here.