Transmission heterogeneities, kinetics, and controllability of SARS-CoV-2.


A long-standing question in infectious disease dynamics concerns the role of transmission heterogeneities, driven by demography, behavior and interventions. Based on detailed patient and contact tracing data in Hunan, China we find 80% of secondary infections traced back to 15% of SARS-CoV-2 primary infections, indicating substantial transmission heterogeneities. Transmission risk scales positively with the duration of exposure and the closeness of social interactions and is modulated by demographic and clinical factors. The lockdown period increases transmission risk in the family and households, while isolation and quarantine reduce risks across all types of contacts. The reconstructed infectiousness profile of a typical SARS-CoV-2 patient peaks just before symptom presentation. Modeling indicates SARS-CoV-2 control requires the synergistic efforts of case isolation, contact quarantine, and population-level interventions, owing to the specific transmission kinetics of this virus.

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