Some Asian cities are just as densely packed and yet the coronavirus has been kept in check.
New York has become the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. As of this writing, it has about 40% of the confirmed cases in the country, much more than any other state:
Asian countries such as South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore have extremely dense cities and have sufferedless severeoutbreaks than countries anywhere else. This may be because of other factors — rapid high-quality public health responses, a culture of mask-wearing and so on. But it shows that density isn’t destiny when it comes to disease.
Another problem for the density theory is that coronavirus infections havetended to show upfirst on the outskirts of cities, not in city centers.
This suggests that social and professional networks, rather than random interactions on streets or in trains, are the main vectors by which diseases such as the coronavirus spread.
Research.suggests that urbanization does foster disease in developing nations, but it’s more often because of poor sanitary conditions and improper ventilation.
As for transit, some have claimed a correlation between train use and disease outbreaks. But evidence from Japan, where train use is ubiquitous, suggests that proper ventilation and masks substantially reduce infections and that the speed of disease transmission depends more on how much time people ride on trains than on how crowded they are.