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Infection dynamics of COVID-19 virus under lockdown and reopening

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  • Jakub Svoboda, IST Austria, Klosterneuburg, A-3400, Austria
  • ,
  • Josef Tkadlec, Harvard University
  • ,
  • Andreas Pavlogiannis
  • Krishnendu Chatterjee, IST Austria, Klosterneuburg, A-3400, Austria
  • ,
  • Martin A Nowak, Harvard University

Motivated by COVID-19, we develop and analyze a simple stochastic model for the spread of disease in human population. We track how the number of infected and critically ill people develops over time in order to estimate the demand that is imposed on the hospital system. To keep this demand under control, we consider a class of simple policies for slowing down and reopening society and we compare their efficiency in mitigating the spread of the virus from several different points of view. We find that in order to avoid overwhelming of the hospital system, a policy must impose a harsh lockdown or it must react swiftly (or both). While reacting swiftly is universally beneficial, being harsh pays off only when the country is patient about reopening and when the neighboring countries coordinate their mitigation efforts. Our work highlights the importance of acting decisively when closing down and the importance of patience and coordination between neighboring countries when reopening.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1526
JournalScientific Reports
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

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© 2022. The Author(s).

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