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Local Characteristics Related to SARS-CoV-2 Transmissions in the Seoul Metropolitan Area, South Korea

Im, C.; Kim, Y.

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18(23)

2021


ISSN/ISBN: 1660-4601
PMID: 34886318
Accession: 079497134

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The Seoul metropolitan area is one of the most populated metropolitan areas in the world; hence, Seoul's COVID-19 cases are highly concentrated. This study identified local demographic and socio-economic characteristics that affected SARS-CoV-2 transmission to provide locally targeted intervention policies. For the effective control of outbreaks, locally targeted intervention policies are required since the SARS-CoV-2 transmission process is heterogeneous over space. To identify the local COVID-19 characteristics, this study applied the geographically weighted lasso (GWL). GWL provides local regression coefficients, which were used to account for the spatial heterogeneity of SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks. In particular, the GWL pinpoints statistically significant regions with specific local characteristics. The applied explanatory variables involving demographic and socio-economic characteristics that were associated with higher SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the Seoul metropolitan area were as follows: young adults (19~34 years), older population, Christian population, foreign-born population, low-income households, and subway commuters. The COVID-19 case data were classified into three periods: the first period (from January 2020 to July 2021), the second period (from August to November 2020), and the third period (from December 2020 to February 2021), and the GWL was fitted for the entire period (from January 2020 to February 2021). The result showed that young adults, the Christian population, and subway commuters were the most significant local characteristics that influenced SARS-CoV-2 transmissions in the Seoul metropolitan area.

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