Models show how COVID-19 cuts a neighborhood path

University of Washington
29-Oct-2020 3:45 PM EDT, by University of Washington

Newswise — The coronavirus doesn’t spread uniformly through a community.

But in the world of disease modeling, many projections take a high-level approach to a geographic area, like a county or state, and forecast based on a general idea that a virus will take root and spread at an equal rate until it reaches its peak of infection.

A research team led by UC Irvine and the University of Washington has created a new model of coronavirus diffusion through a community. This approach, published Sept. 10 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,  factors in network exposure — whom one interacts with — and demographics to simulate at a more detailed level both where and how quickly the coronavirus could spread through Seattle and 18 other major cities.

The team used U.S. Census Bureau tract demographics, simulation techniques and COVID-19 case data from spring 2020 to estimate a range of days for the virus to spread within a given city.

The result: Some neighborhoods peak sooner than others. And in every city, the virus sticks around far longer than some might expect.

“The most basic takeaway from this research is risk. People are at risk longer than they think, the virus will last longer than expected, and the point at which you think you don’t need to be vigilant means that it just hasn’t happened to you yet,” said co-author Zack Almquist, an assistant professor of sociology at the UW.

Almquist and the team took on their study with two basic premises: Account for the social and geographic connections within a tract that could affect the course of the virus; and assume no vaccine or other major intervention alters its path. Then, based on actual COVID-19 and demographic data, project a likely scenario for spread over time.

Take Seattle. The study’s map of the city outlines each census tract and provides a color-coded range of days each tract could take to reach peak infection before the virus goes into a low remission. The overall range is vast, from neighborhoods with the fastest peak — 83 days — to those that take more than 1,000. That’s more than three years, assuming there is no significant intervention to stem the spread.

Denser neighborhoods in Seattle, such as Capitol Hill or the University District, reach peak infection rate earlier. But simulations predict that even nearby neighborhoods won’t reach peak infection until weeks or even years later. These models predict more “burst-like” behavior of the virus’ spread than standard models — with short, sudden episodes of infection across the city, Almquist said.

In the study’s model of Washington, D.C., census tracts also appear to reach peak infection rates at different times. Again, denser areas tend to peak sooner. But the network connections can cause “bursty” peak infection days, with some areas seeing early peak infections and others seeing it much later based on the neighborhoods’ relative connections with each other, Almquist said.

Projecting the path of the virus can help estimate the impact on local hospitals. Researchers predicted this in several ways, such as modeling the number of cases per hospital over time and the number of days a hospital is at peak capacity.

The model of projected hospital cases shows how the geographic variations in the timing in peak COVID-19 infections could affect hospitals in different areas. Without outside intervention, some hospitals would remain at capacity for years, especially those farthest from major population centers.

These types of models are important because they provide a more detailed and nuanced prediction of an unknown like the novel coronavirus, said Almquist. Gauging how the virus might spread throughout a city and strain its hospitals can help local officials and health care providers plan for many scenarios. And while this study assumes no major interventions will rein in the virus, it’s reasonable to believe the virus will linger to some degree, even with solutions such as a vaccine, according to Almquist.

“If you project these models for what it means over the country, we might expect to see some areas, such as rural populations, not see infection for months or even years before their peak infection occurs,” Almquist said. “These projections, as well as others, are beginning to suggest that it could take years for the spread of COVID-19 to reach saturation in the population, and even if it does so it is likely to become endemic without a vaccine.”

Co-authors are Loring Thomas, Peng Huang, Fan Yin, Xiaoshuang Iris Luo, John Hipp and Carter Butts, all of UC Irvine. The study was funded by the National Science Foundation and UC Irvine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEE ORIGINAL STUDY

MEDIA CONTACT
Register for reporter access to contact details
CITATIONS

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 4204
access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 9-Dec-2020 4:00 PM EST Released to reporters: 3-Dec-2020 4:50 PM EST

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 9-Dec-2020 4:00 PM EST The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 9-Dec-2020 4:00 PM EST Released to reporters: 3-Dec-2020 3:50 PM EST

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 9-Dec-2020 4:00 PM EST The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

Newswise: 250384_web.jpg
Released: 3-Dec-2020 3:05 PM EST
Study finds COVID-19 hindering US academic productivity of faculty with young children
University of Tennessee Health Science Center

The academic productivity of higher education faculty In the United States in the science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM) fields with very young children suffered as a result of the stay-at-home orders during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, the University of Florida College of Medicine, and the University of Michigan School of Medicine.

Released: 3-Dec-2020 2:50 PM EST
Kidney disease leading risk factor for COVID-related hospitalization
Geisinger Health System

An analysis of Geisinger's electronic health records has revealed chronic kidney disease to be the leading risk factor for hospitalization from COVID-19.

Newswise: Identity Verification During the Age of COVID-19
Released: 3-Dec-2020 2:25 PM EST
Identity Verification During the Age of COVID-19
Homeland Security's Science And Technology Directorate

S&T's Biometric Technology Rally focused on the ability of acquisition systems and matching algorithms to recognize travelers without asking them to remove their masks, thereby reducing risk for frontline workers.

access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 10-Dec-2020 11:00 AM EST Released to reporters: 3-Dec-2020 2:20 PM EST

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 10-Dec-2020 11:00 AM EST The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 7-Dec-2020 4:45 PM EST Released to reporters: 3-Dec-2020 2:10 PM EST

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 7-Dec-2020 4:45 PM EST The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

Released: 3-Dec-2020 2:00 PM EST
Testosterone May Contribute to More Severe COVID-19 Disease
American Physiological Society (APS)

New research suggests that levels of the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone could contribute to infection risk and severity of COVID-19.

access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 10-Dec-2020 12:00 PM EST Released to reporters: 3-Dec-2020 1:50 PM EST

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 10-Dec-2020 12:00 PM EST The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.


Showing results

110 of 4204

close
1.51313