A hybrid multi-scale model of COVID-19 transmission dynamics to assess the potential of non-pharmaceutical interventions
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Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a novel coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan, China in December 2019. It has caused a global outbreak which represents a major threat to global health. Public health resorted to non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing and lockdown to slow down the spread of the pandemic. However, the effect of each of these measures remains hard to quantify. We design a multi-scale model that simulates the transmission dynamics of COVID-19. We describe the motion of individual agents using a social force model. Each agent can be either susceptible, infected, quarantined, immunized or deceased. The model considers both mechanisms of direct and indirect transmission. We parameterize the model to reproduce the early dynamics of disease spread in Italy. We show that panic situations increase the risk of infection transmission in crowds despite social distancing measures. Next, we reveal that pre-symptomatic transmission accelerates the onset of the exponential growth of cases. After that, we demonstrate that the persistence of SARS-CoV-2 on hard surfaces determines the number of cases reached during the peak of the epidemic. Then, we show that the restricted movement of the individuals flattens the epidemic curve. Finally, model predictions suggest that measures stricter than social distancing and lockdown were used to control the epidemic in Wuhan, China.
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