Societal heterogeneity contributes to complex dynamic patterns of the COVID-19 pandemics: insights from a novel Stochastic Heterogeneous Epidemic Model (SHEM) [article]

Alexander V Maltsev, Michael Stern
<span title="2020-07-11">2020</span> <i title="Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory"> biorxiv/medrxiv </i> &nbsp;
After months of COVID-19 quarantine, businesses are reopening their doors and people are reentering society. Within the current COVID-19 data, after a slow-down of infection, a new peak in active cases is already forming. Here we developed a new Stochastic Heterogeneous Epidemic Model (SHEM) to investigate genesis of complex pandemic patterns with the focus on the role of heterogenous societal structure. Using this model with R0 of COVID-19, we simulated viral infection in different scenarios
more &raquo; ... ere isolated, communities surround the main cluster of the population. Depending on the parameters of heterogeneity and isolation period, our simulations generated a multimodal growth periods with multiple peaks, an extended plateau, a prolonged tail, or a delayed second wave of infection. We show that timing and magnitude of infection for previously unaffected isolated clusters of people, such as suburban neighborhoods, are critical aspects of these patterns. Our model can be applied to communities at any given scale of population described as a fractal-like structure, i.e. from the entire human population, to a country, down to a province or city levels with relevant societal heterogeneity structure. The current COVID-19 pandemic development worldwide and in the US follows a bimodal rise pattern, qualitatively similar to that in our simulations. We interpret our data to indicate that the secondary peak in the pattern is contributed by the states and counties in the US with late infection surges that are analogous to isolated suburbs in our model. Furthermore, the on-going early reopening, i.e. premature partial reopening in our model, is further accelerating the peak rise. This peak now reaches new heights, forcing many states in the US to reverse their policies and reestablish their quarantine measures. Our results support these timely and effective measures: we show that longer quarantine periods can reduce the number of deaths and transform the current trend into a substantially delayed (>1 year) second wave. If this scenario becomes a reality, it is important (i) to develop the vaccine and/or effective treatment before the second wave; (ii) to warn people living in suburbs that it is these isolated areas that may hold a false sense of security, but they should continue to take extra care for their public health.
<span class="external-identifiers"> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener noreferrer" href="">doi:10.1101/2020.07.10.20150813</a> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener" href="">pmid:32676619</a> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener" href="">pmcid:PMC7359544</a> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener" href="">fatcat:pypoxif7cfctjobxve3mdpq75q</a> </span>
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