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Creators/Authors contains: "Chen, Jiangzhuo"

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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 4, 2024
  2. Disease surveillance systems provide early warnings of disease outbreaks before they become public health emergencies. However, pandemics containment would be challenging due to the complex immunity landscape created by multiple variants. Genomic surveillance is critical for detecting novel variants with diverse characteristics and importation/emergence times. Yet, a systematic study incorporating genomic monitoring, situation assessment, and intervention strategies is lacking in the literature. We formulate an integrated computational modeling framework to study a realistic course of action based on sequencing, analysis, and response. We study the effects of the second variant’s importation time, its infectiousness advantage and, its cross-infection on the novel variant’s detection time, and the resulting intervention scenarios to contain epidemics driven by two-variants dynamics. Our results illustrate the limitation in the intervention’s effectiveness due to the variants’ competing dynamics and provide the following insights: i) There is a set of importation times that yields the worst detection time for the second variant, which depends on the first variant’s basic reproductive number; ii) When the second variant is imported relatively early with respect to the first variant, the cross-infection level does not impact the detection time of the second variant. We found that depending on the target metric, the best outcomes are attained under different interventions’ regimes. Our results emphasize the importance of sustained enforcement of Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions on preventing epidemic resurgence due to importation/emergence of novel variants. We also discuss how our methods can be used to study when a novel variant emerges within a population.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 28, 2024
  3. ABSTRACT We study allocation of COVID-19 vaccines to individuals based on the structural properties of their underlying social contact network. Using a realistic representation of a social contact network for the Commonwealth of Virginia, we study how a limited number of vaccine doses can be strategically distributed to individuals to reduce the overall burden of the pandemic.We show that allocation of vaccines based on individuals’ degree (number of social contacts) and total social proximity time is significantly more effective than the usually used age-based allocation strategy in reducing the number of infections, hospitalizations and deaths. The overall strategy is robust even: (𝑖) if the social contacts are not estimated correctly; (𝑖𝑖) if the vaccine efficacy is lower than expected or only a single dose is given; (𝑖𝑖𝑖) if there is a delay in vaccine production and deployment; and (𝑖𝑣) whether or not non-pharmaceutical interventions continue as vaccines are deployed. For reasons of implementability, we have used degree, which is a simple structural measure and can be easily estimated using several methods, including the digital technology available today. These results are significant, especially for resource-poor countries, where vaccines are less available, have lower efficacy, and are more slowly distributed. 
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  4. Nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) such as mask wearing can be effective in mitigating the spread of infectious diseases. Therefore, understanding the behavioral dynamics of NPIs is critical for characterizing the dynamics of disease spread. Nevertheless, standard infection models tend to focus only on disease states, overlooking the dynamics of “beneficial contagions,” e.g., compliance with NPIs. In this work, we investigate the concurrent spread of disease and mask-wearing behavior over multiplex networks. Our proposed framework captures both the competing and complementary relationships between the dueling contagion processes. Further, the model accounts for various behavioral mechanisms that influence mask wearing, such as peer pressure and fear of infection. Our results reveal that under the coupled disease–behavior dynamics, the attack rate of a disease—as a function of transition probability—exhibits a critical transition. Specifically, as the transmission probability exceeds a critical threshold, the attack rate decreases abruptly due to sustained mask-wearing responses. We empirically explore the causes of the critical transition and demonstrate the robustness of the observed phenomena. Our results highlight that without proper enforcement of NPIs, reductions in the disease transmission probability via other interventions may not be sufficient to reduce the final epidemic size. 
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  5. Abstract This research measures the epidemiological and economic impact of COVID-19 spread in the US under different mitigation scenarios, comprising of non-pharmaceutical interventions. A detailed disease model of COVID-19 is combined with a model of the US economy to estimate the direct impact of labor supply shock to each sector arising from morbidity, mortality, and lockdown, as well as the indirect impact caused by the interdependencies between sectors. During a lockdown, estimates of jobs that are workable from home in each sector are used to modify the shock to labor supply. Results show trade-offs between economic losses, and lives saved and infections averted are non-linear in compliance to social distancing and the duration of the lockdown. Sectors that are worst hit are not the labor-intensive sectors such as the Agriculture sector and the Construction sector, but the ones with high valued jobs such as the Professional Services, even after the teleworkability of jobs is accounted for. Additionally, the findings show that a low compliance to interventions can be overcome by a longer shutdown period and vice versa to arrive at similar epidemiological impact but their net effect on economic loss depends on the interplay between the marginal gains from averting infections and deaths, versus the marginal loss from having healthy workers stay at home during the shutdown. 
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  6. We study the role of vaccine acceptance in controlling the spread of COVID-19 in the US using AI-driven agent-based models. Our study uses a 288 million node social contact network spanning all 50 US states plus Washington DC, comprised of 3300 counties, with 12.59 billion daily interactions. The highly-resolved agent-based models use realistic information about disease progression, vaccine uptake, production schedules, acceptance trends, prevalence, and social distancing guidelines. Developing a national model at this resolution that is driven by realistic data requires a complex scalable workflow, model calibration, simulation, and analytics components. Our workflow optimizes the total execution time and helps in improving overall human productivity.This work develops a pipeline that can execute US-scale models and associated workflows that typically present significant big data challenges. Our results show that, when compared to faster and accelerating vaccinations, slower vaccination rates due to vaccine hesitancy cause averted infections to drop from 6.7M to 4.5M, and averted total deaths to drop from 39.4K to 28.2K nationwide. This occurs despite the fact that the final vaccine coverage is the same in both scenarios. Improving vaccine acceptance by 10% in all states increases averted infections from 4.5M to 4.7M (a 4.4% improvement) and total deaths from 28.2K to 29.9K (a 6% increase) nationwide. The analysis also reveals interesting spatio-temporal differences in COVID-19 dynamics as a result of vaccine acceptance. To our knowledge, this is the first national-scale analysis of the effect of vaccine acceptance on the spread of COVID-19, using detailed and realistic agent-based models. 
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    Abstract We use an individual based model and national level epidemic simulations to estimate the medical costs of keeping the US economy open during COVID-19 pandemic under different counterfactual scenarios. We model an unmitigated scenario and 12 mitigation scenarios which differ in compliance behavior to social distancing strategies and in the duration of the stay-home order. Under each scenario we estimate the number of people who are likely to get infected and require medical attention, hospitalization, and ventilators. Given the per capita medical cost for each of these health states, we compute the total medical costs for each scenario and show the tradeoffs between deaths, costs, infections, compliance and the duration of stay-home order. We also consider the hospital bed capacity of each Hospital Referral Region (HRR) in the US to estimate the deficit in beds each HRR will likely encounter given the demand for hospital beds. We consider a case where HRRs share hospital beds among the neighboring HRRs during a surge in demand beyond the available beds and the impact it has in controlling additional deaths. 
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  9. Abstract

    Our ability to forecast epidemics far into the future is constrained by the many complexities of disease systems. Realistic longer-term projections may, however, be possible under well-defined scenarios that specify the future state of critical epidemic drivers. Since December 2020, the U.S. COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub (SMH) has convened multiple modeling teams to make months ahead projections of SARS-CoV-2 burden, totaling nearly 1.8 million national and state-level projections. Here, we find SMH performance varied widely as a function of both scenario validity and model calibration. We show scenarios remained close to reality for 22 weeks on average before the arrival of unanticipated SARS-CoV-2 variants invalidated key assumptions. An ensemble of participating models that preserved variation between models (using the linear opinion pool method) was consistently more reliable than any single model in periods of valid scenario assumptions, while projection interval coverage was near target levels. SMH projections were used to guide pandemic response, illustrating the value of collaborative hubs for longer-term scenario projections.

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