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Impact of Self-Imposed Prevention Measures and Short-Term Government Intervention on Mitigating and Delaying a COVID-19 Epidemic

20 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2020

See all articles by Alexandra Teslya

Alexandra Teslya

Utrecht University - Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care

Thi Mui Pham

Utrecht University - Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care

Noortje G. Godijk

Utrecht University - Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care

Mirjam E. Kretzschmar

Utrecht University - Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care

Martin C.J. Bootsma

Utrecht University - Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care

Ganna Rozhnova

Utrecht University - Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care

More...

Abstract

Background: With new cases of COVID-19 surging around the world, some countries may have to prepare for moving beyond the containment phase. Prediction of the effectiveness of non-case-based interventions for mitigating, delaying or preventing the epidemic is urgent, especially for countries affected by the increased seasonal influenza activity.

Methods: We developed a transmission model to evaluate the impact of self-imposed prevention measures (handwashing, mask-wearing, and social distancing) due to COVID-19 awareness and of short-term government-imposed social distancing on the peak number of diagnoses, attack rate and time until the peak number of diagnoses.

Findings: For fast awareness spread in the population, self-imposed measures can significantly reduce the attack rate, diminish and postpone the peak number of diagnoses. A large epidemic can be prevented if the efficacy of these measures exceeds $50\%$. For slow awareness spread, self-imposed measures reduce the peak number of diagnoses and attack rate but do not affect the timing of the peak. Early implementation of short-term government interventions can only delay the peak.

Interpretation: Handwashing, mask-wearing and social distancing as a reaction to information dissemination about COVID-19 can be effective strategies to mitigate and delay the epidemic. We stress the importance of a rapid spread of awareness on the use of self-imposed prevention measures in the population. Early-initiated short-term government-imposed social distancing can buy time for healthcare systems to prepare for an increasing COVID-19 burden.

Funding Statement: This research was funded by ZonMw project 91216062, One Health EJP H2020 project 773830, Aidsfonds project P-29704.

Declaration of Interests: The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; mathematical model; prevention measures; disease awareness; epidemic control; social distancing; handwashing; mask-wearing; public health

Suggested Citation

Teslya, Alexandra and Pham, Thi Mui and Godijk, Noortje G. and Kretzschmar, Mirjam E. and Bootsma, Martin C.J. and Rozhnova, Ganna, Impact of Self-Imposed Prevention Measures and Short-Term Government Intervention on Mitigating and Delaying a COVID-19 Epidemic (3/12/2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3555213 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3555213

Alexandra Teslya (Contact Author)

Utrecht University - Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care ( email )

Utrecht
Netherlands

Thi Mui Pham

Utrecht University - Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care

Utrecht
Netherlands

Noortje G. Godijk

Utrecht University - Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care

Utrecht
Netherlands

Mirjam E. Kretzschmar

Utrecht University - Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care

Utrecht
Netherlands

Martin C.J. Bootsma

Utrecht University - Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care

Utrecht
Netherlands

Ganna Rozhnova

Utrecht University - Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care ( email )

Utrecht
Netherlands

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