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STUDY: Travel to Las Vegas likely connected to COVID-19 spikes in Southwest U.S.

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Posted at 5:28 PM, Jan 27, 2021

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A new report from Kinsa, a health technology company, shows travel to and from Las Vegas may be linked to a spike in COVID-19 cases in Southwest states including, California and Arizona.

The so-called California variant of the virus was first reported in July and became more widespread in October according to the New York Times.

RELATED: COVID-19 variant found in California, health officials say

According to Kinsa HealthWeather, the data "shows strong correlations between the sickest counties and higher rates of travel to businesses along the Las Vegas Strip after New Year’s as well as earlier in December, when the new variant took hold."

Although Gov. Steve Sisolak urged people to stay at home over the holiday season, there were crowds on the Las Vegas Strip on New Year's Eve even though there were no fireworks.

RELATED: New Year's Eve celebrations in Las Vegas | 2019-2020

The report suggests proximity to Las Vegas as a key factor. "Residents of the affected counties in California, Arizona and Nevada were up to twice as likely to have traveled to businesses on the Las Vegas Strip in December and January, according to an analysis of anonymized cellphone location data from SafeGraph," the report findings state.

Their analysis also showed other factors related to higher COVID-19 rates including the climate in the region is warmer and arider, which has been tied to potentially higher levels of illness.

Kinsa’s data also shows correlations between illness and population density.

Read the full report here.