Analyzing the effects of social distancing on the COVID-19 pandemic in Korea using mathematical modeling
Choi Sun-Hwa, ±â¸ð¶õ,
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( Choi Sun-Hwa ) - National Cancer Center Graduate School of Cancer Science and Policy Department of Cancer Control and Population Health
±â¸ð¶õ ( Ki Mo-Ran ) - National Cancer Center Graduate School of Cancer Science and Policy Department of Cancer Control and Population Health
Abstract
OBJECTIVES: During the 6 months since the first coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patient was diagnosed in Korea on January 20, 2020, various prevention and control measures have been implemented according to the COVID-19 epidemic pattern. Therefore, this study aimed to estimate the reproductive numbers (R) for each epidemic stage to analyze the effects of the preventive measures and to predict the COVID-19 transmission trends.
METHODS: We estimated the transmission rates for each epidemic stage by fitting a COVID-19 transmission model, based on a deterministic mathematical model, to the data on confirmed cases. The effects of preventive measures such as social distancing by time period were analyzed, and the size and trends of future COVID-19 outbreaks were estimated.
RESULTS: The value of R was 3.53 from February18, 2020 to February 28, 2020, and the mean R reduced to 0.45 from March 14, 2020 to April 29, 2020, but it significantly increased to 2.69 from April 30, 2020 to May13, 2020 and it was maintained at 1.03 from May 14, 2020 to July 23, 2020.
CONCLUSIONS: According to the estimated R, it had fallen to below 1 and was maintained at that level owing to the isolation of infected persons by the public health authorities and social distancing measures followed by the general public. Then, the estimated R increased rapidly as the contact among individuals increased during the long holiday period from April 30, 2020 to May 5, 2020. Thereafter, the value of R dropped, with the continued use of preventive measures but remained higher than 1.00, indicating that the COVID-19 outbreak can be prolonged and develop into a severe outbreak at any time.
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Coronavirus; Mathematical model; Outbreak; Reproductive number; Social distancing; Korea
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