Modeling of digital and manual contact tracing for COVID-19. Are low absorption rates and missed contacts okay breakups?

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PLoS One. 2021 18; 16 (11): e0259969. doi: 10.1371 / journal.pone.0259969. Electronic collection 2021.

ABSTRACT

Comprehensive testing programs, followed by adequate contact tracing and isolation, represent the best public health interventions we can use to reduce the impact of an ongoing epidemic when vaccine supplies are lacking or limited and that the implications of a full lockout should be avoided. However, the tracing process can prove to be insane for highly contagious viruses such as SARS-CoV-2. Interview-based approaches often lack contacts and involve significant delays, while digital solutions can suffer from poor adoption rates or inadequate use patterns. Here we present a new way to model different contact tracing strategies, using a generalized multi-site mean field model, which can naturally assess the impact of manual and digital approaches. Our methodology can be easily applied to any compartment formulation, thus allowing the study of more complex pathogenic dynamics. We use this technique to simulate a newly defined epidemiological model, SEIR-T, and show that under the right conditions, tracing in a COVID-19 outbreak can be effective even when digital adoptions are suboptimal or investigators a good proportion of contacts are missing.

PMID: 34793526 | DOI: 10.1371 / journal.pone.0259969

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