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To procrastinate or not to procrastinate: A retrospective study of the optimal timing of containing the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic

Li, Jun, Ye, Lingjian, Zhou, Yimin, Zhang, Joy Yueyue, Chen, Zhou (2021) To procrastinate or not to procrastinate: A retrospective study of the optimal timing of containing the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Frontier in Public Health, 9 . Article Number 613980. ISSN 2296-2565. (doi:10.3389/fpubh.2021.613980) (KAR id:89228)


As global public health is under threat by the 2019-nCoV and a potential new wave of large-scale epidemic outbreak and spread is looming, an imminent question to ask is what the optimal strategy of epidemic prevention and control (P&C) measures would be, especially in terms of the timing of enforcing aggressive policy response so as to maximize health efficacy and to contain pandemic spread. Based on the current global pandemic statistic data, here we developed a logistic probability function configured SEIR model to analyse the COVID-19 outbreak and estimate its transmission pattern

under different “anticipate- or delay-to-activate” policy response scenarios in containing the pandemic. We found that the potential positive effects of stringent pandemic P&C measures would be almost canceled out in case of significantly delayed action, whereas a partially procrastinatory wait-and-see control policy may still be able to contribute to containing the degree of epidemic spread although its effectiveness may be significantly compromised compared to a scenario of early intervention coupled with stringent P&C measures. A laissez-faire policy adopted by the government and health authority to tackling the uncertainly of COVID19-type pandemic development during the early stage of the outbreak turns out to be a high risk strategy from optimal control perspective, as significant damages would be produced as a consequence.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.3389/fpubh.2021.613980
Uncontrolled keywords: Covid-19 pandemic, prevention and control, second wave outbreak, timing, optimal control, irreversible damage, retrospective study
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Joy Y Zhang
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2021 17:14 UTC
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2022 12:27 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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