NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Dominic Russel

New York University
Leonard N. Stern School of Business
44 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10012

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: New York University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

April 2020The Geographic Spread of COVID-19 Correlates with Structure of Social Networks as Measured by Facebook
with Theresa Kuchler, Johannes Stroebel: w26990
We use anonymized and aggregated data from Facebook to show that areas with stronger social ties to two early COVID-19 "hotspots" (Westchester County, NY, in the U.S. and Lodi province in Italy) generally have more confirmed COVID-19 cases as of March 30, 2020. These relationships hold after controlling for geographic distance to the hotspots as well as for the income and population density of the regions. These results suggest that data from online social networks may prove useful to epidemiologists and others hoping to forecast the spread of communicable diseases such as COVID-19.
 
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