A second wave pandemic constitutes an imminent threat to society, with a potentially immense toll in terms of human lives and a devastating economic impact. We employ the epidemic Renormalisation Group (eRG) approach to pandemics, together with the first wave data for COVID-19, to efficiently simulate the dynamics of disease transmission and spreading across different European countries. The framework allows us to model, not only inter and extra European border control effects, but also the impact of social distancing for each country. We perform statistical analyses averaging on different level of human interaction across Europe and with the rest of the World. Our results are neatly summarised as an animation reporting the time evolution of the first and second waves of the European COVID-19 pandemic. Our temporal playbook of the second wave pandemic can be used by governments, financial markets, the industries and individual citizens, to efficiently time, prepare and implement local and global measures.
We employed the epidemic Renormalisation Group approach to simulate the dynamics of disease transmission and spreading across different European countries for the second COVID-19 wave. Since it has been demonstrated10 that the framework can be mapped into other compartmental models, our results are sufficiently general. The approach allows to model inter and extra European border control effects while taking into account the impact of social distancing for each country. To reduce the number of unknowns in the simulation, we used the information from the first wave. This information is encoded in the infection rate and the logarithm of the number of total infected cases per each country. Going beyond this hypothesis is straightforward in our approach, but such parameter tuning is not the point of this work. Nevertheless we allowed variations of the central value of γγ’s by up to 15% to estimate the impact on the second wave pandemic and shown that the general overall trend remains unchanged. We then performed statistical analyses averaging on different level of cross Europe interactions and with the rest of the World. The role of the rest of the World and possibly local hotspots has been attributed to a Region-X, which acts as a source of infection coupled to all or only few European countries. By calibrating on the current European situation that shows early signs of the second wave, we provided a temporal playbook of the second wave pandemic. Our results can be employed by governments, financial markets and the industry world to implement local and global measures.
The main results show that the temporal position of the second wave peak, once started, is rather solid and will occur between July 2020 and January 2021. As an example, we show in Fig. 5 our prognosis for the nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. The precise timing for each country can be controlled via travel and social distancing measures. The sensitivity of the second peak prognosis on the value of the infection rates gives a clear indication that social distancing measures and responsible individual behaviour can have a strong effect if implemented early on. The predictions given by our model can, therefore, be easily updated to take into account the current situation in each country.
In the added material, we also include two animations representing the time evolution of the first and second wave of the European COVID-19 pandemic resulting from our simulations, extracted from case (a) and case (e) respectively, tuned to give the most realistic results and taking into account early signs of a second wave in some countries, as of the 5th of August, 2020. The simplicity of the eRG approach is such that the simulations take only a few seconds on an average personal laptop, thus providing a practical and accurate tool for the understanding of a second (and third, and so on) wave pandemic. The temporal playbook we provide is a useful tool for governments, financial markets, the industries and individual citizens to prepare in advance and possibly counter the threat of recurring pandemic waves.
Note added At the time of publication, many of the countries we considered in this study did enter a second wave of COVID-19 infections. By comparing the current data to our simulation case (e), we found that the second wave has started roughly 4 weeks earlier, compatible with case (a), for the countries that did not have signs of a second wave as of the 5th of August. Case (a) corresponds to values of the couplings kijkij an order of magnitude larger than those used in case (e). One can see from Table 1 that the peak timing expected in case (a) reproduces better the observed data. To better appreciate this fact, in Fig. 6 we show the epidemiological data for six countries, adjourned to the 30th of August, compared to the simulation.
Reference & source information: https://www.nature.com/
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