The adoption of non-pharmaceutical interventions and the role of digital infrastructure during the COVID-19 pandemic in Colombia, Ecuador, and El Salvador
Networks and Urban Systems Centre, University of Greenwich, London, UK
2 ISI Foundation, Turin, Italy
3 The World Bank, Washington, DC, USA
4 School of Mathematical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK
Accepted: 30 May 2023
Published online: 6 June 2023
Adherence to the non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) put in place to mitigate the spreading of infectious diseases is a multifaceted problem. Several factors, including socio-demographic and socio-economic attributes, can influence the perceived susceptibility and risk which are known to affect behavior. Furthermore, the adoption of NPIs is dependent upon the barriers, real or perceived, associated with their implementation. Here, we study the determinants of NPIs adherence during the first wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Colombia, Ecuador, and El Salvador. Analyses are performed at the level of municipalities and include socio-economic, socio-demographic, and epidemiological indicators. Furthermore, by leveraging a unique dataset comprising tens of millions of internet Speedtest® measurements from Ookla®, we investigate the quality of the digital infrastructure as a possible barrier to adoption. We use mobility changes provided by Meta as a proxy of adherence to NPIs and find a significant correlation between mobility drops and digital infrastructure quality. The relationship remains significant after controlling for several factors. This finding suggests that municipalities with better internet connectivity were able to afford higher mobility reductions. We also find that mobility reductions were more pronounced in larger, denser, and wealthier municipalities.
Key words: COVID-19 / Digital infrastructure / Non-pharmaceutical interventions
© The Author(s) 2023
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