Quantifying human mixing patterns in Chinese provinces outside Hubei after the 2020 lockdown was lifted

by   Yining Zhao, et al.

Contact patterns play a key role in the spread of respiratory infectious diseases in human populations. During the COVID-19 pandemic the regular contact patterns of the population has been disrupted due to social distancing both imposed by the authorities and individual choices. Here we present the results of a contact survey conducted in Chinese provinces outside Hubei in March 2020, right after lockdowns were lifted. We then leveraged the estimated mixing patterns to calibrate a model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, which was used to estimate different metrics of COVID-19 burden by age. Study participants reported 2.3 contacts per day (IQR: 1.0-3.0) and the mean per-contact duration was 7.0 hours (IQR: 1.0-10.0). No significant differences were observed between provinces, the number of recorded contacts did not show a clear-cut trend by age, and most of the recorded contacts occurred with family members (about 78 the time of the survey, people were still heavily limiting their contacts as compared to the pre-pandemic situation. Moreover, the obtained modeling results highlight the importance of considering age-contact patterns to estimate COVID-19 burden.


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