A robust infrastructure prevails despite the population density that the district in which a person lives may have if we speak in terms of vulnerability to COVID-19, as a new study suggests.
Through an exhaustive analysis of data from the first months of the pandemic (until April 4 and June 27, 2020), the researchers found that the demographic structure of a population (age, social and economic class, access to resources) is much more influential than just how dense a population is .
Overcrowding is not density
The data was sourced from Iran’s AC-19 app, which tracks positive cases and deaths by geographic location. The researchers thus assessed whether certain variables affected infection rates in the 22 districts and approximately 8.6 million residents of Tehran .
The study also notes that what drives the spread of infectious diseases during a pandemic is overcrowding , which can occur in even low-density districts.
While a person less likely to know or follow public health guidelines or more likely to use public transportation may be at higher risk of contracting the disease, the researchers found no statistically significant difference in lower-income urban districts.
Still, the study has some drawbacks . The main one is the availability and accuracy of the data. The pandemic has evolved so rapidly in the first few months that monitoring may not capture the whole picture.