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1.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-307039

ABSTRACT

Social distancing and isolation have been introduced widely to counter the COVID-19 pandemic. However, more moderate contact reduction policies become desirable owing to adverse social, psychological, and economic consequences of a complete or near-complete lockdown. Adopting a social network approach, we evaluate the effectiveness of three targeted distancing strategies designed to 'keep the curve flat' and aid compliance in a post-lockdown world. These are limiting interaction to a few repeated contacts, seeking similarity across contacts, and strengthening communities via triadic strategies. We simulate stochastic infection curves that incorporate core elements from infection models, ideal-type social network models, and statistical relational event models. We demonstrate that strategic reduction of contact can strongly increase the efficiency of social distancing measures, introducing the possibility of allowing some social contact while keeping risks low. This approach provides nuanced insights to policy makers for effective social distancing that can mitigate negative consequences of social isolation.

4.
Nat Hum Behav ; 4(6): 588-596, 2020 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-531316

ABSTRACT

Social distancing and isolation have been widely introduced to counter the COVID-19 pandemic. Adverse social, psychological and economic consequences of a complete or near-complete lockdown demand the development of more moderate contact-reduction policies. Adopting a social network approach, we evaluate the effectiveness of three distancing strategies designed to keep the curve flat and aid compliance in a post-lockdown world. These are: limiting interaction to a few repeated contacts akin to forming social bubbles; seeking similarity across contacts; and strengthening communities via triadic strategies. We simulate stochastic infection curves incorporating core elements from infection models, ideal-type social network models and statistical relational event models. We demonstrate that a strategic social network-based reduction of contact strongly enhances the effectiveness of social distancing measures while keeping risks lower. We provide scientific evidence for effective social distancing that can be applied in public health messaging and that can mitigate negative consequences of social isolation.


Subject(s)
Communicable Disease Control/methods , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Models, Theoretical , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Social Isolation , Social Networking , COVID-19 , Humans
5.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 117(18): 9696-9698, 2020 05 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-73367

ABSTRACT

Governments around the world must rapidly mobilize and make difficult policy decisions to mitigate the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Because deaths have been concentrated at older ages, we highlight the important role of demography, particularly, how the age structure of a population may help explain differences in fatality rates across countries and how transmission unfolds. We examine the role of age structure in deaths thus far in Italy and South Korea and illustrate how the pandemic could unfold in populations with similar population sizes but different age structures, showing a dramatically higher burden of mortality in countries with older versus younger populations. This powerful interaction of demography and current age-specific mortality for COVID-19 suggests that social distancing and other policies to slow transmission should consider the age composition of local and national contexts as well as intergenerational interactions. We also call for countries to provide case and fatality data disaggregated by age and sex to improve real-time targeted forecasting of hospitalization and critical care needs.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Adult , Age Factors , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/mortality , Humans , Italy , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/mortality , Republic of Korea , SARS-CoV-2 , Sex Factors
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