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First Author: LAN Ting

The COVID-19 pandemic caused drastic changes in human activities and nighttime light (NTL) at various scales, providing a unique opportunity for exploring the pattern of the extreme responses of human community. This study used daily NTL data to examine the spatial variations and temporal dynamics of human activities under the influence of COVID-19, taking Chinese mainland as the study area. The results suggest that the change in the intensity of NTL is not correlated to the number of confirmed cases, but reflects the changes in human activities and the intensity of epidemic prevention and control measures within a region. During the outbreak period, the major provincial capitals and urban agglomerations were affected by COVID-19 more than smaller cities. During the recovery, different regions showed different recovery processes. The cities in West and Northeast China recovered steadily while the recovery in coastal cities showed relatively greater fluctuations due to an increase in imported cases. Wuhan, the most seriously affected city in China, did not recover until the end of March. Nevertheless, as of 31 March, the overall NTL across China had recovered to an 89.5% level of the same period in the previous year. The high consistency between the big data of travel intensity and NTL further proved the validity of the results of this study. These findings imply that daily NTL data are effective for rapidly monitoring the dynamic changes in human activities, and can help evaluate the effects of control measures on human activities during major public health events.

Spatial extent of the impact of COVID-19 in China.

Contact the author: TANG Lina
Page Number: 2740-2753
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PubYear: 18 February 2021
Publication Name: IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing
The full text link: https://doi.org/10.1109/JSTARS.2021.3060038