Detecting Regions At Risk for Spreading COVID-19 Using Cellular Wireless Network

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Create Date July 27, 2020
Last Updated July 27, 2020

Detecting Regions At Risk for Spreading COVID-19 Using Existing Cellular Wireless Network Functionalities

The purpose of this article is to introduce a new strategy to identify areas with high human density and mobility, which are at risk of spreading COVID-19. Crowded regions with actively moving people (called at-risk regions) are susceptible to spreading the disease, especially if they contain asymptomatic infected people together with healthy people. Methods: Our scheme identifies at-risk regions using existing cellular network
functionalities—handover and cell (re)selection—used to maintain seamless coverage for mobile end-user equipment (UE). The frequency of handover and cell (re)selection events is highly reflective of the density of mobile people in the area because virtually everyone carries UEs. Results: These measurements, which are accumulated over very many UEs, allow us to identify the at-risk regions without compromising the privacy and anonymity of individuals. Conclusions: The inferred at-risk regions can then be subjected to further monitoring and risk mitigation.

Index Terms — COVID-19, infectious diseases, tracking.

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