The current, global COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 is poised to create a humanitarian crisis in terms of the loss of human life, long term health impacts, and socio-economic upheaval. However, the severity of such impacts varies widely by country and by city, and one set of critical factors is the city characteristics, such as size and population size density1. However, these alone cannot explain all differences, and similar regions or cities have not experienced the impacts equally. We hypothesize that specific municipal characteristics enhance a community’s resiliency to withstand a pandemic and to return to normalcy relatively faster than others. The overall goal is to assess if there are physical characteristics, demographic profiles, infrastructure, policies, and practices specific to a community that enhance its resiliency to withstand and overcome a pandemic based on the experiences with the outbreak of COVID-19. The aim is to understand the current disease spread from the above factors, and recommend preferred characteristics and actions for municipalities to improve their resiliency to respond and recover from future pandemic scenarios.
There are a number of outcomes and benefits for Windsor-Essex residents. The model created can assist in evaluating the effectiveness of continuing various policies to minimize viral spread, particularly if the current COVID-19 crisis continues for an extended period. In addition, if the virus re-emerges, the model can assist in evaluating how effective prior measures such as social distancing will be to reduce the incidence of disease, or if modifications or alternative measures should be pursued. In addition, the infrastructure assessment of municipal characteristics and their relationship to the incidence of disease and its successful resolution will form the core of a set of recommended policies, actions, or infrastructure parameters to manage pandemics for Windsor-Essex County in the future. In particular, the researchers plan to develop a template that can provide additional expertise to municipal authorities and community leaders given the realistic limitations on accessing pandemic expertise at short notice.