Mobility-Dependent and Mobility-Compensated Effective Reproduction Number of COVID-19 Viral Variants: New Metric for Infectivity Evaluation

1 Nov 2021  ·  Sachiko Kodera, Essam A. Rashed, Akimasa Hirata ·

During epidemics, estimation of the effective reproduction number (ERN) associated with infectious disease is a challenging topic for policy development and medical resource management. There is still an open question about the dominant factors to characterize in corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19), although recent studies based on nonlinear regression with machine learning suggested mobility. The emergence of new viral variants is common in widespread pandemics. However, understanding the potential ERN of new variants is required for policy revision, including lockdown constraints. In this study, we proposed time-averaged mobility at transit stations as a surrogate to correlate with ERN using data from three prefectures in Japan. The latency and duration to average over the mobility were 6-8 days and 6-7, respectively (R2 was 0.109-0.512 in Tokyo, 0.365-0.607 in Osaka, and 0.317-0.631 in Aichi). The same linear correlation was confirmed in Singapore and London. The mobility-adjusted ERN of the alpha variant was 15%-30%, and was 20%-40% higher than the standard type in Osaka, Aichi, and London. Similarly, the ERN of the delta variant was 20%-40% higher than that of the standard type in Osaka and Aichi. The proposed metric would be useful for proper evaluation of the infectivity of different variants in terms of ERN.

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