Exponential damping : the key to successful containment of COVID-19
CITATION: Zhang, F. et al. 2021. Exponential damping : the key to successful containment of COVID-19. Frontiers in Public Health, 8:580619, doi:10.3389/fpubh.2020.580619.
The original publication is available at https://www.frontiersin.org
Due to its excessive capacity for human-to-human transmission, the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has now been declared a global public health emergency. Here we propose a simple model based on exponential infectious growth, but with a time-varying, largely damping, transmission rate. This model provides an excellent fit to the existing data for 46 countries with 10,000+ cases by 16 May 2020, five continents and the entire world. Hence, the model has largely captured the transmission patterns of the COVID-19 outbreak under a variety of intervention and control measures. The damping rate ranged from −0.0228 to 0.1669 d−1 globally (a negative damping rate represents acceleration in spread) and can greatly affect the duration of the outbreak and the eventual number of infections. Our model suggests that it is possible to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic by the end of 2020 through achieving a high damping rate (0.0615 d−1). However, the global damping rate is rather low (0.0504 d−1 before 26 April) and has dropped even further since late April (0.0168 d−1). Easing currently implemented control measures in countries with weak or no damping in transmission could lead to an exponential rebound of COVID-19 spread.