Characterizing COVID-19 waves in urban and rural districts of India

Bhartendu Pandey, Jianyu Gu, Anu Ramaswami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Understanding spatial determinants, i.e., social, infrastructural, and environmental features of a place, which shape infectious disease is critically important for public health. We present an exploration of the spatial determinants of reported COVID-19 incidence across India’s 641 urban and rural districts, comparing two waves (2020–2021). Three key results emerge using three COVID-19 incidence metrics: cumulative incidence proportion (aggregate risk), cumulative temporal incidence rate, and severity ratio. First, in the same district, characteristics of COVID-19 incidences are similar across waves, with the second wave over four times more severe than the first. Second, after controlling for state-level effects, urbanization (urban population share), living standards, and population age emerge as positive determinants of both risk and rates across waves. Third, keeping all else constant, lower shares of workers working from home correlate with greater infection risk during the second wave. While much attention has focused on intra-urban disease spread, our findings suggest that understanding spatial determinants across human settlements is also important for managing current and future pandemics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number26
Journalnpj Urban Sustainability
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Ecology
  • Computational Mechanics


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterizing COVID-19 waves in urban and rural districts of India'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this