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Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21267606


The Delta variant of concern of SARS-CoV-2 has spread globally causing large outbreaks and resurgences of COVID-19 cases1-3. The emergence of Delta in the UK occurred on the background of a heterogeneous landscape of immunity and relaxation of non-pharmaceutical interventions4,5. Here we analyse 52,992 Delta genomes from England in combination with 93,649 global genomes to reconstruct the emergence of Delta, and quantify its introduction to and regional dissemination across England, in the context of changing travel and social restrictions. Through analysis of human movement, contact tracing, and virus genomic data, we find that the focus of geographic expansion of Delta shifted from India to a more global pattern in early May 2021. In England, Delta lineages were introduced >1,000 times and spread nationally as non-pharmaceutical interventions were relaxed. We find that hotel quarantine for travellers from India reduced onward transmission from importations; however the transmission chains that later dominated the Delta wave in England had been already seeded before restrictions were introduced. In England, increasing inter-regional travel drove Deltas nationwide dissemination, with some cities receiving >2,000 observable lineage introductions from other regions. Subsequently, increased levels of local population mixing, not the number of importations, was associated with faster relative growth of Delta. Among US states, we find that regions that previously experienced large waves also had faster Delta growth rates, and a model including interactions between immunity and human behaviour could accurately predict the rise of Delta there. Deltas invasion dynamics depended on fine scale spatial heterogeneity in immunity and contact patterns and our findings will inform optimal spatial interventions to reduce transmission of current and future VOCs such as Omicron.

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20248129


Disease dynamics, human mobility, and public policies co-evolve during a pandemic such as COVID-19. Understanding dynamic human mobility changes and spatial interaction patterns are crucial for understanding and forecasting COVID-19 dynamics. We introduce a novel graph-based neural network(GNN) to incorporate global aggregated mobility flows for a better understanding of the impact of human mobility on COVID-19 dynamics as well as better forecasting of disease dynamics. We propose a recurrent message passing graph neural network that embeds spatio-temporal disease dynamics and human mobility dynamics for daily state-level new confirmed cases forecasting. This work represents one of the early papers on the use of GNNs to forecast COVID-19 incidence dynamics and our methods are competitive to existing methods. We show that the spatial and temporal dynamic mobility graph leveraged by the graph neural network enables better long-term forecasting performance compared to baselines.

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20159996


Timely interventions and early preparedness of healthcare resources are crucial measures to tackle the COVID-19 disease. To aid these efforts, we developed the Mobility-Augmented SEIR model (MA-SEIR) that leverages Googles aggregate and anonymized mobility data to augment classic compartmental models. We show in a retrospective analysis how this method can be applied at an early stage in the COVID-19 epidemic to forecast its subsequent spread and onset in different geographic regions, with minimal parameterization of the model. This provides insight into the role of near real-time aggregate mobility data in disease spread modeling by quantifying substantial changes in how populations move both locally and globally. These changes would be otherwise very hard to capture using less timely data.

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20132688


As rates of new COVID-19 cases decline across Europe due to non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing policies and lockdown measures, countries require guidance on how to ease restrictions while minimizing the risk of resurgent outbreaks. Here, we use mobility and case data to quantify how coordinated exit strategies could delay continental resurgence and limit community transmission of COVID-19. We find that a resurgent continental epidemic could occur as many as 5 weeks earlier when well-connected countries with stringent existing interventions end their interventions prematurely. Further, we found that appropriate coordination can greatly improve the likelihood of eliminating community transmission throughout Europe. In particular, synchronizing intermittent lockdowns across Europe meant half as many lockdown periods were required to end community transmission continent-wide. One Sentence SummaryEU coordination in easing restrictions is key to preventing resurgent COVID-19 outbreaks and stopping community transmission.

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20123760


This work quantifies mobility changes observed during the different phases of the pandemic world-wide at multiple resolutions - county, state, country - using an anonymized aggregate mobility map that captures population flows between geographic cells of size 5 km2. As we overlay the global mobility map with epidemic incidence curves and dates of government interventions, we observe that as case counts rose, mobility fell and has since then seen a slow but steady increase in flows. Further, in order to understand mixing within a region, we propose a new metric to quantify the effect of social distancing on the basis of mobility.Taking two very different countries sampled from the global spectrum, We analyze in detail the mobility patterns of the United States (US) and India. We then carry out a counterfactual analysis of delaying the lockdown and show that a one week delay would have doubled the reported number of cases in the US and India. Finally, we quantify the effect of college students returning back to school for the fall semester on COVID-19 dynamics in the surrounding community. We employ the data from a recent university outbreak (reported on August 16, 2020) to infer possible Reff values and mobility flows combined with daily prevalence data and census data to obtain an estimate of new cases that might arrive on a college campus. We find that maintaining social distancing at existing levels would be effective in mitigating the extra seeding of cases. However, potential behavioral change and increased social interaction amongst students (30% increase in Reff) along with extra seeding can increase the number of cases by 20% over a period of one month in the encompassing county. To our knowledge, this work is the first to model in near real-time, the interplay of human mobility, epidemic dynamics and public policies across multiple spatial resolutions and at a global scale.