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Modeling the COVID-19 epidemic

The SBIR model

Diffusion, confinement and clusters

 The SBIR model

With Louis Gostiaux and Jean-Pierre Bertoglio.

Epidemics such as the spreading of the SARS-CoV-2 virus are highly non linear, and therefore difficult to predict. In the present pandemic as time evolves, it appears more and more clearly that a clustered dynamics is a key element of description. This means that the disease rapidly evolves within spatially localized networks, that diffuse and eventually create new clusters. We improve upon the simplest possible compartmental model, the SIR model, by adding an additional compartment associated with the clustered individuals. This sophistication is compatible with more advanced compartmental models and allows, at the lowest level of complexity, to leverage the well-mixedness assumption. The so-obtained SBIR model takes into account the effect of inhomogeneity on epidemic spreading, and compares satisfactorily with results on the pandemic propagation in a number of European countries, during and immediately after lock-down. Especially, the decay exponent of the number of new cases after the first peak of the epidemic is captured without the need to vary the coefficients of the model with time. We show that this decay exponent is directly determined by the diffusion of the ensemble of clustered individuals and can be related to a global reproduction number, that overrides the classical, local reproduction number.

Bos, Wouter, Jean-Pierre Bertoglio, and Louis Gostiaux. "Clustering, diffusion and evolution of COVID19 infections during lock-down." medRxiv (2020). Accepted for publication in Comp. Mech.