Mobile phone data for informing public health actions across the COVID-19 pandemic life cycle

Nuria Oliver, Bruno Lepri, Harald Sterly, Renaud Lambiotte, Sébastien Delataille, Marco De Nadai, Emmanuel Letouzé, Albert Ali Salah, Richard Benjamins, Ciro Cattuto, Vittoria Colizza, Nicolas de Cordes, Samuel P. Fraiberger, Till Koebe, Sune Lehmann, Juan Murillo, Alex Pentland, Phuong N Pham, Frédéric Pivetta, Jari Saramäki, Samuel V. Scarpino, Michele Tizzoni, Stefaan Verhulst and Patrick Vinck

Science Advances 27 Apr 2020:


The coronavirus 2019-2020 pandemic (COVID-19) poses unprecedented challenges for governments and societies around the world (1). Non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) have proven to be critical for delaying and containing the COVID-19 pandemic (2–6). This includes testing and tracing, bans on large gatherings, non-essential business and school and university closures, international and domestic mobility restrictions and physical isolation, and total lockdowns of regions and countries. Decision-making and evaluation or such interventions during all stages of the pandemic lifecycle require specific, reliable and timely data not only about infections, but also about human behavior, especially mobility and physical co-presence. We argue that mobile phone data, when used properly and carefully, represents a critical arsenal of tools for supporting public health actions across early, middle, and late-stage phases of the COVID-19 pandemic.