Infectious diseases diffuse over space and time through inherently geographical processes [23]. The geographical concept of spatial diffusion is defined as the spread of a phenomenon across space [24], of which disease diffusion through interpersonal transmission is but one variant [23, 25]. Here, we investigate the role of globalisation, settlement and population characteristics as socio-spatial determinants of reported COVID-19 diffusion between countries as an outcome of transmission between individuals. Although each new case is by definition a product of interpersonal transmission—both directly via contact, and indirectly via fomites—diffusion can occur across large distances as an outcome of human movement and mobility. Understandings of viral transmission lie more firmly within the academic domain of virology than diffusion does, which is a fundamentally geographic phenomenon that can be applied to many other forms of…

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