Theoretical investigation of pre-symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 person-to-person transmission in households

Yehuda Arav, Ziv Klausner, Eyal Fattal

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Received date: 13th September 2020

Since its emergence, the phenomenon of SARS-CoV-2 transmission by seemingly healthy individuals has become a major challenge in the effort to achieve control of the pandemic. Identifying the modes of transmission that drive this phenomenon is a perquisite in devising effective control measures, but to date it is still under debate. To address this problem, we have formulated a detailed mathematical model of discrete human actions (such as coughs, sneezes, and touching) and the decay of the virus in the environment. To take into account both discrete and continuous events we have extended the common modelling approach and employed a hybrid stochastic mathematical framework. This allows us to calculate higher order statistics which are crucial for the reconstruction of the observed distributions. We focused on transmission within a household, the venue with the highest risk of infectionand validated the model results against the observed secondary attack rate and the serial interval distribution. Detailed analysis of the model results identified the dominant driver of pre-symptomatic transmission as the contact route via hand-face transfer and showed that wearing masks and avoiding physical contact are an effective prevention strategy. These results provide a sound scientific basis to the present recommendations of the WHO and the CDC.

Read in full at medRxiv.

This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on a preprint server, which is currently undergoing peer review at Scientific Reports. The findings have yet to be thoroughly evaluated, nor has a decision on ultimate publication been made. Therefore, the results reported should not be considered conclusive, and these findings should not be used to inform clinical practice, or public health policy, or be promoted as verified information.

Scientific Reports

Nature Research, Springer Nature