The suppression effect of emotional contagion in the COVID-19 pandemic: A multi-layer hybrid modelling and simulation approach

Xudong Guo, Junbo Tong, Peiyu Chen, Wenhui Fan, Hocine Cherifi
2021 PLoS ONE  
The entire world has suffered a lot since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in 2019, so simulation models of COVID-19 dynamics are urgently needed to understand and control the pandemic better. Meanwhile, emotional contagion, the spread of vigilance or panic, serves as a negative feedback to the epidemic, but few existing models take it into consideration. In this study, we proposed an innovative multi-layer hybrid modelling and simulation approach to simulate disease
more » ... and emotional contagion together. In each layer, we used a hybrid simulation method combining agent-based modelling (ABM) with system dynamics modelling (SDM), keeping spatial heterogeneity while reducing computation costs. We designed a new emotion dynamics model IWAN (indifferent, worried, afraid and numb) to simulate emotional contagion inside a community during an epidemic. Our model was well fit to the data of China, the UK and the US during the COVID-19 pandemic. If there weren't emotional contagion, our experiments showed that the confirmed cases would increase rapidly, for instance, the total confirmed cases during simulation in Guangzhou, China would grow from 334 to 2096, which increased by 528%. We compared the calibrated emotional contagion parameters of different countries and found that the suppression effect of emotional contagion in China is relatively more visible than that in the US and the UK. Due to the experiment results, the proposed multi-layer network model with hybrid simulation is valid and can be applied to the quantitative analysis of the epidemic trends and the suppression effect of emotional contagion in different countries. Our model can be modified for further research to study other social factors and intervention policies in the COVID-19 pandemic or future epidemics.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0253579 fatcat:dvt3iei5zjdu3lo4i4zeaaasce