The coronavirus lockdown saw many city dwellers flee their concrete metropolises for the countryside, whether to go and stay in holiday homes, visit family, or for 'staycations' in smaller towns and villages.
This mass exodus left major cities like London and New York eerily deserted, while simultaneously infuriating the locals in more rural parts of the country, who felt like they were being invaded.
Inevitably, the movement of people from towns and cities to the countryside can lead to localised surges in infection rates in these areas.
However, a new mathematical study shows this type of migration may actually help to limit the overall spread of the disease during a pandemic.
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The coronavirus lockdown saw many city dwellers flee their concrete metropolises for the countryside, staying with family or friends in smaller towns and villages, much to the chagrin of locals
This mass urbanite exodus left major cities like London and New York eerily empty, while simultaneously infuriating the native country folk who were being invaded by yuppies and the rich and wealthy escaping to their second home
Natives of the countryside made a stern point to city folk looking to invade during the peak of the coronavirus lockdown, worried about people spreading Covid-19
Researchers used computer models to predict movement patterns of a hypothetical group of people.
Their simple model focused on population density as the primary factor influencing the spread of disease.
In reality, the picture is far more nuanced, but population density does play a significant role, with many cities experiencing worse per capita infection rates than rural areas.
The researchers, Dr Massimiliano Zanin and Dr David Papo, looked at how population density and infection rates were impacted by the implementation of travel restrictions.
International travel was rapidly shut down following the emergence of Covid-19 to reduce the global spread of the contagion, and many nations later introduced regional restrictions.
For example, under England's Spring lockdown, people were advised not to travel long distances except when absolutely essential.
Researchers used computer models to predict movement patterns of a hypothetical group of people. Their simple model focused on population density as the primary factor influencing spread of disease
Researchers Dr Massimiliano Zanin and Dr David Papo looked at how population density and infection rates were impacted by the implementation of travel restrictions. Their hypothetical research is far removed from the emotional actions of reality (pictured)
The study, published today in the journal Chaos , found that a place with a high population density getting diluted via a mass exit actually leads to a slowdown in disease spread overall
The overall lower number of cases comes at a cost, the researchers say. Although there is an overall drop, there is a higher number of infections in the low-density region, which is