It is well recognized that population heterogeneity plays an important role in the spread of epidemics. While individual variations in social activity are often assumed to be persistent, i.e. constant in time, here we discuss the consequences of dynamic heterogeneity. By integrating the stochastic dynamics of social activity into traditional epidemiological models, we demonstrate the emergence of a new long timescale governing the epidemic, in broad agreement with empirical data. Our Stochastic Social Activity model captures multiple features of real-life epidemics such as COVID-19, including prolonged plateaus and multiple waves, which are transiently suppressed due to the dynamic nature of social activity. The existence of a long timescale due to the interplay between epidemic and social dynamics provides a unifying picture of how a fast-paced epidemic typically will transition to an endemic state.
- Novel coronavirus
- severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)