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Wednesday 21 Oct 2020Estimating the age groups that sustain resurging COVID-19 epidemics in the United States

Oliver Ratmann - Imperial College, London 11:00-12:00

Despite the wide implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions in the United States, it is still not known how transmissions of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are impacted by changing contact patterns, age and other demographics. Considering dynamics for the United States, we analyse aggregated, age-specific mobility trends from more than 10 million individuals and link these mechanistically to age-specific COVID-19 mortality data. In contrast to previous approaches, we link mobility to mortality via age-specific contact patterns and use this rich relationship to reconstruct accurate transmission dynamics. The model is fitted using Stan's new reduce_sum functionality for parallel computation. We find little support for age-shifts in contact and transmission dynamics over time. We estimate that, until August, 63.4% [60.9%-65.5%] of SARS-CoV-2 infections originated from adults aged 20-49, while 1.2% [0.8%-1.8%] originated from children aged 0-9. In areas with continued, community-wide transmission, our transmission model predicts that re-opening kindergartens and elementary schools could facilitate spread and lead to additional COVID-19 attributable deaths over a 90-day period. Interventions targeting adults aged 20-49 are an important consideration in halting resurgent epidemics, and preventing COVID-19.

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