Non-trivial interplay between immunity and human mobility shapes SARS-CoV-2 spreading

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Since the appearance of SARS-CoV-2 in early 2020, public health systems worldwide have struggled facing the pandemic. Before having access to vaccines against Covid-19, many non-pharmaceutical interventions aimed to reduce human mobility and contacts among people were implemented. Despite all the efforts to stop the spreading, subsequent outbreaks of SARS-CoV 2 variants have occurred all around the globe leading to a heterogeneous scenario in terms of epidemic transmission and social policies. It is well known that human mobility is an important factor in propagating epidemics. However, previous works have found that the relationship between mobility and the transmissibility changes over time and have observed a decoupling between the two. We explore the interplay between human mobility and Covid-19 propagation by analysing the evolution of the major SARS-CoV 2 variants outbreaks in England.In particular, we study how different factors such as immunity, vaccination adoption and human mobility affected the epidemic spreading of different SARS-CoV 2 variants of Concern. We observe a non-trivial relation between human mobility and transmissibility: we find a high correlation between human mobility and case incidence only during a short time period of the outbreak. Outside of this time window, there is a high variability across the country. Besides, the correlation is lost when the transmissibility is very high, as it is the case with the Omicron variant.

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Sandro Meloni

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