Role of asymptomatic COVID-19 cases in viral transmission: Findings from a hierarchical community contact network model

Tianyi Luo, Zhidong Cao, Yuejiao Wang, Daniel Dajun Zeng, Qingpeng Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: As part of on-going efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, understanding the role of asymptomatic patients in the transmission system is essential to infection control. However, optimal approach to risk assessment and management of asymptomatic cases remains unclear. Methods: This study involved a SEINRHD epidemic propagation model, constructed based on epidemiological characteristics of COVID-19 in China, accounting for the heterogeneity of social network. We assessed epidemic control measures for asymptomatic cases on three dimensions. Impact of asymptomatic cases on epidemic propagation was examined based on the effective reproduction number, abnormally high transmission events, and type and structure of transmission. Results: Management of asymptomatic cases can help flatten the infection curve. Tracking 75% of asymptomatic cases corresponds to an overall reduction in new cases by 34.3% (compared to tracking no asymptomatic cases). Regardless of population-wide measures, family transmission is higher than other types of transmission, accounting for an estimated 50% of all cases. Conclusions: Asymptomatic case tracking has significant effect on epidemic progression. When timely and strong measures are taken for symptomatic cases, the overall epidemic is not sensitive to the implementation time of the measures for asymptomatic cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 23 2020

Keywords

  • Asymptomatic patients
  • COVID-19
  • Epidemic rebound
  • Strategy evaluation
  • Transmission model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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