The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and resulting COVID-19 disease have had an unprecedented spread and continue to cause an increasing number of fatalities worldwide. While vaccines are still under development, social distancing, extensive testing, and quarantining of confirmed infected subjects remain the most effective measures to contain the pandemic. These measures carry a significant socioeconomic cost. In this work, we introduce a novel optimization-based decision-making framework for managing the COVID-19 outbreak in the US. This includes modeling the dynamics of affected populations, estimating the model parameters and hidden states from data, and an optimal control strategy for sequencing social distancing and testing events such that the number of infections is minimized. The analysis of our extensive computational efforts reveals that social distancing and quarantining are most effective when implemented early, with quarantining of confirmed infected subjects having a much higher impact. Further, we find that “on-off” policies alternating between strict social distancing and relaxing such restrictions can be effective at “flattening” the curve while likely minimizing social and economic cost.
Control of COVID-19 outbreak using an extended SEIR model
The outbreak of COVID-19 resulted in high death tolls all over the world. The aim of this paper is to show how a simple SEIR model was used to make quick predictions for New Jersey in early March 2020 and call for action based on data from China and Italy. A more refined model, which accounts for social distancing, testing, contact tracing and quarantining, is then proposed to identify containment measures to minimize the economic cost of the pandemic. The latter is obtained taking into account all the involved costs including reduced economic activities due to lockdown and quarantining as well as the cost for hospitalization and deaths. The proposed model allows one to find optimal strategies as combinations of implementing various non-pharmaceutical interventions and study different scenarios and likely initial conditions.
- Award ID(s):
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- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- Mathematical Models and Methods in Applied Sciences
- Page Range or eLocation-ID:
- 2399 to 2424
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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