OPTIMAL INTERVENTION STRATEGIES FOR MINIMIZING TOTAL INCIDENCE DURING AN EPIDEMIC

Tom Britton, Lasse Leskela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
45 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This article considers the minimization of the total number of infected individuals over the course of an epidemic in which the rate of infectious contacts can be reduced by time-dependent nonpharmaceutical interventions. The societal and economic costs of interventions are taken into account using a linear budget constraint which imposes a trade-off between short-term heavy interventions and long-term light interventions. We search for an optimal intervention strategy in an infinite-dimensional space of controls containing multiple consecutive lockdowns, gradually imposed and lifted restrictions, and various heuristic controls based, for example, on tracking the effective reproduction number. Mathematical analysis shows that among all such strategies, the global optimum is achieved by a single constant-level lockdown of maximum possible magnitude. Numerical simulations highlight the need for careful timing of such interventions and illustrate their benefits and disadvantages compared to strategies designed for minimizing peak prevalence. Rather counterintuitively, adding restrictions prior to the start of a well-planned intervention strategy may even increase the total incidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354-373
Number of pages20
JournalSIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics
Volume83
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • epidemic final size
  • herd immunity
  • lockdown policy
  • prevention strategy
  • SIR epidemic model

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