COVID-19 Plateau: A Phenomenon of Epidemic Development under Adaptive Prevention Strategies


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Since the beginning of the COVID-19 spreading, the number of studies on the epidemic models increased dramatically. It is important for policy makers to know how the disease will spread, and what are the effects of the policies and environment on the spreading. In this paper, we propose two extensions to the standard infectious disease models: (a) We consider the prevention measures adopted based on the current severity of the infection, those measures are adaptive and change over time. (b) Multiple cities and regions are considered, with population movements between those cities/regions, while taking into account that each region may have different prevention measures. While the adaptive measures and mobility of the population were often observed during the pandemic, these effects are rarely explicitly modeled and studied in the classical epidemic models. The model we propose gives rise to a plateau phenomenon: the number of people infected by the disease stay at the same level during an extended period of time. We show what are conditions needs to be met in order for the spreading to exhibit a plateau period, and we show that this phenomenon is interdependent: when considering multiples cities, the conditions are different from a single city. We verify from the real-world data that plateau phenomenon does exists in many regions of the world in the current COVID-19 development. Finally, we provide theoretical analysis on the plateau phenomenon for the single-city model, and derive a series of results on the emergence and ending of the plateau, and on the height and length of the plateau. Our theoretical results match well with our empirical findings.
epidemic development,adaptive prevention strategies
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