Estimating worldwide effects of non‐pharmaceutical interventions on COVID‐19 incidence and population mobility patterns using a multiple‐event study

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Various non‐pharmaceutical interventions were adopted by countries worldwide in the fight against the COVID‐19 pandemic with adverse socioeconomic side effects, which raises the question about their differential effectiveness. We estimate the average dynamic effect of each intervention on the incidence of COVID‐19 and on people’s whereabouts by developing a statistical model that accounts for the contemporaneous adoption of multiple interventions. Using daily data from 175 countries, we show that, even after controlling for other concurrent lockdown policies, cancelling public events, imposing restrictions on private gatherings and closing schools and workplaces had significant effects on reducing COVID‐19 infections. Restrictions on internal movement and public transport had no effects because the aforementioned policies, imposed earlier on average, had already de facto reduced human mobility. International travel restrictions, although imposed early, had a short‐lived effect failing to prevent the epidemic from turning into a pandemic because they were less stringent. We interpret the impact of each intervention on containing the pandemic using a conceptual framework which relies on their effects on human mobility behaviors in a manner consistent with time‐use and epidemiological factors.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1972
Number of pages13
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2021


  • COVID‑19
  • non‑pharmaceutical interventions
  • worldwide effects

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