Researchers from New York University and Politecnico di Torino (Italy) developed a network model to study the impact of these two measures on the spread of airborne diseases such as covid-19.
Madrid (EUROPA PRESS). -Studies have shown that the use of masks and social distancing can curb the spread of the covid-19 virus, but their combined efficacy is not yet clear.
Researchers from New York University and Politecnico di Torino (Italy) developed a network model to study the impact of these two measures on the spread of airborne diseases such as covid-19. The model shows that if at least 60% of the population meets these two measures at the same time, a virus outbreak can be avoided.
“Unless most people in society insist on the only measure, social distancing or the use of masks alone may not be enough to stop the spread of covid-19. However, if a large proportion of people adhere to these two measures, mass vaccination is not required. You can prevent the spread of the virus.” The author Maurizio Porfiri explained.
The network model includes nodes or data points and links between edges or nodes. These models are used in a variety of applications from marketing to monitoring bird migration.
In the researchers’ model, based on the framework of sensitivity, exposure, infection or elimination (recovery or death), each node represents a person’s health status. The edges represent potential contacts between pairs of individuals.
The model takes into account the variability of activities, which means that several very active nodes are responsible for many contacts in the network. This reflects the validated assumption that most people interact rarely and only a few people interact with many others. We also tested social distancing without using masks, and vice versa, identifying these measures as separate variables.
The model is based on mobile phone mobility data and a Facebook survey obtained by the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Data shows that people who wear masks also tend to reduce mobility problems. Based on this premise, the nodes are divided into people who wear masks regularly and keep a distance from themselves socially, and people who have basically unchanged behavior due to epidemics or pandemics.
The researchers used the data collected by the New York Times to measure the effectiveness of the model and analyzed the cumulative number of cases per capita in all 50 states and the District of Columbia during the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on July 14, 2020. It is recommended to use masks until December 10.
In addition to showing the combined effect of using masks and social isolation, the model also shows the urgent need for widespread compliance with public health measures.
Porfiri recalled: “Last fall, the states with the highest infection rates in the United States were those that did not comply with public health guidelines, which greatly exceeded the epidemic threshold predicted by our model.”