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Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20179960


In the United States, schools closed in March 2020 due to COVID-19 and began reopening in August 2020, despite continuing transmission of SARS-CoV-2. In states where in-person instruction resumed at that time, two major unknowns were the capacity at which schools would operate, which depended on the proportion of families opting for remote instruction, and adherence to face-mask requirements in schools, which depended on cooperation from students and enforcement by schools. To determine the impact of these conditions on the statewide burden of COVID-19 in Indiana, we used an agent-based model calibrated to and validated against multiple data types. Using this model, we quantified the burden of COVID-19 on K-12 students, teachers, their families, and the general population under alternative scenarios spanning three levels of school operating capacity (50%, 75%, and 100%) and three levels of face-mask adherence in schools (50%, 75%, and 100%). Under a scenario in which schools operated remotely, we projected 45,579 (95% CrI: 14,109-132,546) infections and 790 (95% CrI: 176-1680) deaths statewide between August 24 and December 31. Reopening at 100% capacity with 50% face-mask adherence in schools resulted in a proportional increase of 42.9 (95% CrI: 41.3-44.3) and 9.2 (95% CrI: 8.9-9.5) times that number of infections and deaths, respectively. In contrast, our results showed that at 50% capacity with 100% face-mask adherence, the number of infections and deaths were 22% (95% CrI: 16%-28%) and 11% (95% CrI: 5%-18%) higher than the scenario in which schools operated remotely. Within this range of possibilities, we found that high levels of school operating capacity (80-95%) and intermediate levels of face-mask adherence (40-70%) resulted in model behavior most consistent with observed data. Together, these results underscore the importance of precautions taken in schools for the benefit of their communities.

Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20036582


By March 2020, COVID-19 led to thousands of deaths and disrupted economic activity worldwide. As a result of narrow case definitions and limited capacity for testing, the number of unobserved SARS-CoV-2 infections during its initial invasion of the US remains unknown. We developed an approach for estimating the number of unobserved infections based on data that are commonly available shortly after the emergence of a new infectious disease. The logic of our approach is, in essence, that there are bounds on the amount of exponential growth of new infections that can occur during the first few weeks after imported cases start appearing. Applying that logic to data on imported cases and local deaths in the US through March 12, we estimated that 22,876 (95% posterior predictive interval: 7,451 - 53,044) infections occurred in the US by this date. By comparing the models predictions of symptomatic infections to local cases reported over time, we obtained daily estimates of the proportion of symptomatic infections detected by surveillance. This revealed that detection of symptomatic infections decreased throughout February as exponential growth of infections outpaced increases in testing. Between February 21 and March 12, we estimated an increase in detection of symptomatic infections, which was strongly correlated (median: 0.97, 95% PPI: 0.85 - 0.98) with increases in testing. These results suggest that testing was a major limiting factor in assessing the extent of SARS-CoV-2 transmission during its initial invasion of the US. Significance StatementCountries across the world observed dramatic rises in COVID-19 cases and deaths in March 2020. In the United States, delays in the availability of diagnostic testing prompted questions about the extent of unobserved community transmission. Using a simulation model informed by reported cases and deaths, we estimated that tens of thousands of people were infected by the time a national emergency was declared on March 13. Our results indicate that fewer than 20% of locally acquired, symptomatic infections in the US were detected over a period of a month. The existence of a large, unobserved reservoir of infection argues for the necessity of large-scale social distancing that went into effect to mitigate the impacts of SARS-CoV-2 on the US.

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