Spatial Assessment of COVID-19 First-Wave Mortality Risk in the Global South

Shawky Mansour, Ammar Abulibdeh, Mohammed Alahmadi, Elnazir Ramadan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that appeared in 2019 gave rise to a major global health crisis that is still topping global health, socioeconomic, and intervention program agendas. Although the outbreak of COVID-19 has had substantial and devastating impacts on developed countries, the countries of the Global South share a higher proportion of the epidemic’s effects as shown particularly in morbidity and mortality rates in low-income countries. Modeling the effects of underlying factors and disease mortality is essential to plan effective control strategies for disease transmission and risks. The relationship between COVID-19 mortality rates and sociodemographic and health determinants can highlight various epidemic fatality risks. In this research, geographic information systems (GIS) and a multilayer perceptron (MLP) artificial neural network (ANN) were adopted to model and examine variations in COVID-19 mortality rates in the Global South. The model’s performance was tested using statistical measures of mean square error (MSE), root mean square error (RMSE), mean bias error (MBE), and the coefficient of determination (R 2). The findings indicated that the most important variables in explaining spatial mortality rate variations were the size of the elderly (sixty-five and older) population, accessibility to handwashing facilities, and hospital beds per 1,000 population. Mapping the explanatory variables and estimated mortality rates and determining the importance of each variable in explaining the spatial variation of COVID-19 death rates across countries of the Global South can shed light on how public health care and demographic structures can offer policymakers invaluable guidelines to planning effective intervention strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440-458
Number of pages19
JournalProfessional Geographer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 10 2022


  • ANN
  • COVID-19 mortality
  • GIS modeling
  • Global South
  • sociodemographic determinants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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