Impact of Public Transit on the Propagation of Influenza
The purpose of this paper is to determine the impact of public transport on the propagation of influenza. This paper takes advantage of a 51-day public transit strike in Ottawa (Canada) to study the impact of the availability of public transit on the number of visits to emergency rooms due to influenza by using a difference-in-difference methodology. It finds a statistically significant decrease in the number of emergency room visits related to influenza during the strike relative to comparable cities. Overall, public transit is a significant vector of propagation of influenza. Public authorities could respond by asking commuters to wear masks, by cleaning surfaces more often, and by filtering the air to enable commuters to travel more safely.
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