Using the contact network model and Metropolis-Hastings sampling to reconstruct the COVID-19 spread on the “Diamond Princess”

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  • ReceivedApr 4, 2020
  • AcceptedApr 26, 2020
  • PublishedMay 5, 2020


Traditional compartmental models such as SIR (susceptible, infected, recovered) assume that the epidemic transmits in a homogeneous population, but the real contact patterns in epidemics are heterogeneous. Employing a more realistic model that considers heterogeneous contact is consequently necessary. Here, we use a contact network to reconstruct unprotected, protected contact, and airborne spread to simulate the two-stages outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) on the “Diamond Princess” cruise ship. We employ Bayesian inference and Metropolis-Hastings sampling to estimate the model parameters and quantify the uncertainties by the ensemble simulation technique. During the early epidemic with intensive social contacts, the results reveal that the average transmissibility t was 0.026 and the basic reproductive number R0 was 6.94, triple that in the WHO report, indicating that all people would be infected in one month. The t and R0 decreased to 0.0007 and 0.2 when quarantine was implemented. The reconstruction suggests that diluting the airborne virus concentration in closed settings is useful in addition to isolation, and high-risk susceptible should follow rigorous prevention measures in case exposed. This study can provide useful implications for control and prevention measures for the other cruise ships and closed settings.

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