Density Not to Blame for COVID-19 Spread

We are all living an unprecedented health crisis as the Coronavirus continues to spread around the world.

As a result, some people are beginning to reconsider life in large cities and opting to live in rural areas with lower populations. But could these fears be irrational and misplaced?

Experts say that population density alone should not be considered a factor in the spread of viruses, but rather crowding, non-sensitization to positive social behaviours, and non-adherence to social guidelines during a pandemic should. Furthermore, efforts to combat the Coronavirus in Chinese cities like Wuhan, where the virus originated, have proved effective.

The Role of Governance Amid a Health Crisis

The Australian government has played a crucial role in the fight against the COVID-19 health crisis, limiting its spread and providing treatment to affected persons and areas in record time.

Proper and effective governance and ensuring the population is aware of appropriate social distancing behaviours has proved effective in combating the spread of the virus in Australia so far.

Therefore, when it comes to purchasing an apartment in highly populated areas, for instance, you won’t be exposed to an increased health risk.

The Case for Chinese Cities

While some argue that living in cities exposes you to a higher risk of the Coronavirus, some extremely dense global cities, like Seoul, Shanghai, and Singapore & Melbourne, have outperformed less-populated urban and rural centres in combating the Coronavirus. 

When we look at Chinese cities, which were the first to get exposed to, combat, and recover from COVID-19, the numbers of confirmed cases have stabilised. Which solidifies the argument that population density causing virus transmission is without basis.

Dense cities, however hard hit, have shown that they are better at performing two crucial activities that help to combat the spread of COVID-19:

  • Cities can mobilise enough financial and health resources to cope with tackling the Coronavirus
  • Cities can centralise their fight against the disease and better control the movement of their populations, which partially explains their low infection rates

Due to economies of scale, cities are often better prepared to meet certain population thresholds that allow them to offer higher-grade facilities and services to their residents

Surprisingly, cities with the highest infection rates in China were those with relatively low population densities, ranging between 5,000-10,000 people per square kilometre. These higher infection rates could be attributed to their secure economic and transport connections to the epicentre Wuhan. A prime example is Wenzhou, with over 180,000 people living in the city but working in Wuhan.

The case in China shows that higher population densities, in some cases, turned out to be a blessing instead of a curse in fighting disease epidemics. When you look at services like the door-to-door delivery, food delivery services like UberEats, coverage of high-speed internet, and proximity to hospitals, it is easier and quicker for residents to stay at home while maintaining their standard of living and avoiding unnecessary hotspots and contact with infected persons in cities than in lesser served rural areas.

Overall, well-designed institutions, effective health and policing interventions, good timing and high-quality infrastructure, were the main factors that made cities in China and the rest of the world fight this pandemic effectively. Of course, these findings are not the full story; further evidence is needed to draw concrete conclusions.

Final Thoughts

As long as people follow health and social guidelines like stay-at-home orders, social distancing, and non-crowding, cities do not contribute to the spread of COVID-19. If you live in the city, you are likely to be better informed about avoiding hot spots and have access to better health and other resources should you get infected.  

If you are interested in purchasing a property in a city like Melbourne, Buy Melbourne Apartments has stayed ahead of this unprecedented global health crisis. We have employed the use of advanced technology like virtual apartment tours and remote working solutions for all our staff to ensure that you can continue to search for your dream home.

Enjoy our whole catalogue, with floorplans & further information available via email and phone, from the comfort of home.

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