Home Framework Framework for understanding the transnational spread of COVID-19 in the context of the globally interconnected economy

Framework for understanding the transnational spread of COVID-19 in the context of the globally interconnected economy


The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic began in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and has spread rapidly around the world since then, causing millions of deaths, massive strains on national health systems public and uncertainty about the future of the global and national economies. The unique biological, epidemiological and spread characteristics of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) have endowed this disease with pandemic-like traits, prompting global concern and research.

Study: Understanding the uneven spread of COVID-19 in the context of the interconnected global economy. Image Credit: ffikretow/Shutterstock

Although a comprehensive analysis of the large and diverse literature on COVID-19 is an ongoing and future problem for scientists in epistemology, the material clearly shows the link between the spread of the pandemic and the interconnected socio-economic structure of the world. current. The association between individual connectivity and dissemination (transmission) of COVID-19 is based on clinical and epidemiological parameters at the microscopic level. This method has already benefited from fruitful research contributing to the knowledge and management of the pandemic. In macroscopic terms, the impact of interconnection on the spread of the pandemic is mainly studied at two levels: within and between countries (in a transnational framework).

A study published in Scientific reports uses a three-dimensional conceptual model to examine the global spatio-temporal spread of COVID-19. It has three dimensions: one is close to the interconnection of international tourist mobility, a second describes the opening of countries to the globalized economy, and a third expresses the spatial obstacle to transit.

This report presents an integrated methodology to study the spatio-temporal spread of COVID-19 by developing a unique network model. It also enriches the literature by providing more realistic simulations of the interconnected global system where COVID-19 and other pandemics are spreading.

The study

The authors created a multi-layer plot with scatter plots, box plots, and ks density components to study the distribution of pandemic emergence by country with respect to the interconnectivity of the Global Tourism Network (GTN) . The correlation between the number of days since the initial infection of Wuhan (dfW) and the node degree (k) of the GTN countries can be seen in the scatter plots. The box plots on the axes illustrate the main characteristics of the distributions of associated variables (DFW and k), which are further divided into groups of continents on the horizontal axis (days of measurement from Wuhan).

According to the ks density plot and the scatter plot, two stages of the temporal distribution of COVID-19 can be observed throughout the GTN. The ks density curve, drawn at the 44th day cutoff from Wuhan (t=44 dfW), shows distinct bell-shaped areas formed by these steps. The design of the network which applied a filter on the countries of the world, keeping only the 75 belonging to the GTN, made it possible to detect these stages.

The initial stage, mostly described by the outbreak in Asia and North America, includes nodes affected by day 44 from Wuhan (44 dfW) (as evidenced by country boxplots). The second group contains nodes that were infected after day 44 from Wuhan (>44 dfW), as indicated by the outbreak in Europe, South America, and Africa. The Oceania epidemic is spreading in both stages, but is slightly unbalanced, with the median value decreasing during the first.

In terms of economic openness (3D conceptual component), GTN countries in the first stage of the temporal spread of COVID-19 had a higher globalization index, GDP and GDP per capita, and total factor productivity per capita. higher than those of the second stage of the temporal spread of COVID-19. These results are consistent with previous research that has noted the impact of globalization on the spread of the pandemic and others that have identified productivity as the main propagator of the pandemic.

The t-tests used for the variables of this conceptual component demonstrate that countries with greater economic openness (those that are more integrated into the globalized economic structure) were exposed to the pandemic earlier than those with lower economic openness. Taken together, the t-test analysis provides a comprehensive framework for understanding the uneven distribution of COVID-19, demonstrating that network interconnection, economic openness, and transport integration are key drivers of the early global temporal expansion of the pandemic.


These results may be useful to enrich scientific knowledge and promote current and future methods of epidemiology and public health management. For example, the mix and intensity of policy measures to support strategies against current or future waves of the pandemic may vary from country to country depending on the trade-off between specific topological, economic and geographic attributes of the country. countries in the propagation network.

Given the high cost of time during a pandemic, countries with a more central topological position in a viral spread network should be more alert and take tougher action than others, regardless of the country’s geographic distance from the source of the pandemic. The success of combining these policies depends on a thorough understanding of a country’s position in its network and economic environment.