Bayesian dynamical estimation of the parameters of an SE(A)IR COVID-19 spread model

by   Daniela Calvetti, et al.

In this article, we consider a dynamic epidemiology model for the spread of the COVID-19 infection. Starting from the classical SEIR model, the model is modified so as to better describe characteristic features of the underlying pathogen and its infectious modes. In line with the large number of secondary infections not related to contact with documented infectious individuals, the model includes a cohort of asymptomatic or oligosymptomatic infectious individuals, not accounted for in the data of new daily counts of infections. A Bayesian particle filtering algorithm is used to update dynamically the relevant cohort and simultaneously estimate the transmission rate as the new data on the number of new infections and disease related death become available. The underlying assumption of the model is that the infectivity rate is dynamically changing during the epidemics, either because of a mutation of the pathogen or in response to mitigation and containment measures. The sequential Bayesian framework naturally provides a quantification of the uncertainty in the estimate of the model parameters, including the reproduction number, and of the size of the different cohorts. Moreover, we introduce a dimensionless quantity, which is the equilibrium ratio between asymptomatic and symptomatic cohort sizes, and propose a simple formula to estimate the quantity. This ratio leads naturally to another dimensionless quantity that plays the role of the basic reproduction number R_0 of the model. When we apply the model and particle filter algorithm to COVID-19 infection data from several counties in Northeastern Ohio and Southeastern Michigan we found the proposed reproduction number R_0 to have a consistent dynamic behavior within both states, thus proving to be a reliable summary of the success of the mitigation measures.


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