Mobility-based interventions for epidemic containment


When considering airborne epidemic spreading in social systems, a natural connection arises between mobility and epidemic contacts. As individuals travel, possibilities to encounter new people either at the final destination or during the transportation process appear. Such contacts can lead to new contagion events. In fact, mobility has been a crucial target for early non-pharmaceutical containment measures against the recent COVID-19 pandemic, with a degree of intensity ranging from public transportation line closures to regional, city or even home confinements. Nonetheless, quantitative knowledge on the relationship between mobility-contagions and, consequently, on the efficiency of containment measures remains elusive. Here we introduce an agent-based model with a simple interaction between mobility and contacts. Despite its simplicity our model shows the emergence of a critical mobility level, inducing major outbreaks when surpassed. This aligns with hypotheses formulated from empirical data in recent literature. We explore how interventions in the form of closures triggered by incidence rates guide the epidemic into an oscillatory regime with recurrent waves. Finally, we propose a mitigation framework acting directly on mobility able to suppress oscillations and preventing high incidence peaks with potential to saturate health care resources.


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Jose Javier Ramasco

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