In Nature communications ; h5-index 260.0
The COVID-19 pandemic caused many governments to impose policies restricting social interactions. A controlled and persistent release of lockdown measures covers many potential strategies and is subject to extensive scenario analyses. Here, we use an individual-based model (STRIDE) to simulate interactions between 11 million inhabitants of Belgium at different levels including extended household settings, i.e., "household bubbles". The burden of COVID-19 is impacted by both the intensity and frequency of physical contacts, and therefore, household bubbles have the potential to reduce hospital admissions by 90%. In addition, we find that it is crucial to complete contact tracing 4 days after symptom onset. Assumptions on the susceptibility of children affect the impact of school reopening, though we find that business and leisure-related social mixing patterns have more impact on COVID-19 associated disease burden. An optimal deployment of the mitigation policies under study require timely compliance to physical distancing, testing and self-isolation.
Willem Lander, Abrams Steven, Libin Pieter J K, Coletti Pietro, Kuylen Elise, Petrof Oana, Møgelmose Signe, Wambua James, Herzog Sereina A, Faes Christel, Beutels Philippe, Hens Niel