Quantifying COVID-19 importation risk in a dynamic network of domestic cities and international countries

Xiaoyi Han, Yilan Xu, Linlin Fan, Yi Huang, Minhong Xu, Song Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Since its outbreak in December 2019, the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) has spread to 191 countries and caused millions of deaths. Many countries have experienced multiple epidemic waves and faced containment pressures from both domestic and international transmission. In this study, we conduct a multiscale geographic analysis of the spread of COVID-19 in a policy-influenced dynamic network to quantify COVID-19 importation risk under different policy scenarios using evidence from China. Our spatial dynamic panel data (SDPD) model explicitly distinguishes the effects of travel flows from the effects of transmissibility within cities, across cities, and across national borders. We find that within-city transmission was the dominant transmission mechanism in China at the beginning of the outbreak and that all domestic transmission mechanisms were muted or significantly weakened before importation posed a threat. We identify effective containment policies by matching the change points of domestic and importation transmissibility parameters to the timing of various interventions. Our simulations suggest that importation risk is limited when domestic transmission is under control, but that cumulative cases would have been almost 13 times higher if domestic transmissibility had resurged to its precontainment level after importation and 32 times higher if domestic transmissibility had remained at its precontainment level since the outbreak. Our findings provide practical insights into infectious disease containment and call for collaborative and coordinated global suppression efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2100201118
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume118
Issue number31
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 3 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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