Local Factors and the Spread of COVID-19 in Germany

20 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2020

See all articles by Florian Smuda

Florian Smuda

University of Applied Sciences Koblenz

Date Written: June 5, 2020


Due to the high level of infectivity the spread of COVID-19 is closely related to the number of daily face-to-face contacts between humans. Whereas the extent in which those contacts occur is at least partly controllable by nonpharmaceutical interventions, less controllable local factors are likely to contribute to the spread of disease. This article studies the relationship between local factors and the spread of COVID-19 infections in Germany. Based on a dataset that combines infection data with numerous local factors for all 401 administrative and municipal districts of Germany, the regressions suggest that, depending on local conditions, the spread substantially differs between districts. In particular, the estimations reveal, amongst others, significant relations between average daily infection growth rates and (i) the unemployment rate in February 2020, i.e. shortly before the number of confirmed cases rapidly increased in Germany, (ii) the share of employees working in the (homeoffice-friendly) services sector, (iii) the age distribution of the population, (iv) medical care in terms of physical density, (v) centrality in terms of average distance to the five nearest transport infrastructure network centres, (vi) federal state affiliation as well as further demographic and spatial variables. When thinking about the timing and extent to revive parts of the economy and public life, the results speak in favor of an approach that carefully takes into account regional/local differences between federal states in general and between administrative/municipal districts in particular.

Note: Funding: None to declare

Declaration of Interest: None to declare

Keywords: COVID-19, spread, local factors

Suggested Citation

Smuda, Florian, Local Factors and the Spread of COVID-19 in Germany (June 5, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3619868 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3619868

Florian Smuda (Contact Author)

University of Applied Sciences Koblenz ( email )

RheinAhrCampus Remagen
Joseph-Rovan-Allee 2
Remagen, 53424

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