Nevin Manimala Statistics

A Hybrid Epidemic Model to Explore Stochasticity in COVID-19 Dynamics

Bull Math Biol. 2022 Jul 20;84(9):91. doi: 10.1007/s11538-022-01030-6.


The dynamic nature of the COVID-19 pandemic has demanded a public health response that is constantly evolving due to the novelty of the virus. Many jurisdictions in the USA, Canada, and across the world have adopted social distancing and recommended the use of face masks. Considering these measures, it is prudent to understand the contributions of subpopulations-such as “silent spreaders”-to disease transmission dynamics in order to inform public health strategies in a jurisdiction-dependent manner. Additionally, we and others have shown that demographic and environmental stochasticity in transmission rates can play an important role in shaping disease dynamics. Here, we create a model for the COVID-19 pandemic by including two classes of individuals: silent spreaders, who either never experience a symptomatic phase or remain undetected throughout their disease course; and symptomatic spreaders, who experience symptoms and are detected. We fit the model to real-time COVID-19 confirmed cases and deaths to derive the transmission rates, death rates, and other relevant parameters for multiple phases of outbreaks in British Columbia (BC), Canada. We determine the extent to which SilS contributed to BC’s early wave of disease transmission as well as the impact of public health interventions on reducing transmission from both SilS and SymS. To do this, we validate our model against an existing COVID-19 parameterized framework and then fit our model to clinical data to estimate key parameter values for different stages of BC’s disease dynamics. We then use these parameters to construct a hybrid stochastic model that leverages the strengths of both a time-nonhomogeneous discrete process and a stochastic differential equation model. By combining these previously established approaches, we explore the impact of demographic and environmental variability on disease dynamics by simulating various scenarios in which a COVID-19 outbreak is initiated. Our results demonstrate that variability in disease transmission rate impacts the probability and severity of COVID-19 outbreaks differently in high- versus low-transmission scenarios.

PMID:35859080 | DOI:10.1007/s11538-022-01030-6

By Nevin Manimala

Portfolio Website for Nevin Manimala