A new study has found that many US counties are still unprepared for the potential of COVID-19 spikes, despite the fact that mathematical modeling suggests that the country as a whole has substantially decreased its risk of a nationwide resurgence of the virus.
The study, which was published in the journal Science, looked at data from 3,142 counties in the US and found that while the country has lowered its risk of a COVID-19 resurgence by 41 percent since early July, many individual counties are still at high risk of spikes.
The study’s authors used a mathematical model to simulate the spread of the virus under different scenarios, including a nationwide lockdown, a regional lockdown, and a targeted lockdown in counties with the highest rates of infection. They found that while a nationwide lockdown would be the most effective at preventing a resurgence of the virus, it would also be the most disruptive to the economy and would cause the greatest number of deaths from other causes such as heart disease and cancer.
The study’s authors say that their findings highlight the need for targeted interventions in high-risk counties, rather than a generalized nationwide lockdown. They say that such targeted interventions could include things like increasing testing and contact tracing, as well as localized restrictions on activities such as indoor dining and bar-going.
A new mathematical model suggests that the number of people in the United States who will need hospitalization due to COVID-19 is still far higher than the current capacity in many counties. The model, developed by a team at Arizona State University, also found that the chance of a superspreading event is still quite high.
The findings are based on data from 3,143 counties in the US. The researchers used a technique called compartmental modeling, which is commonly used in epidemiology, to simulated the spread of the virus under different conditions.
They found that, even with the current level of social distancing, the number of people who will need hospitalization in the next few months is still far higher than the capacity in many counties. In some counties, the demand could be as much as 10 times the capacity.
The chance of a superspreading event, where one infected person infects many others, is also still quite high. The model found that, under the current social distancing guidelines, there is a 20% chance of a superspreading event happening in any given county.
The findings highlight the importance of continuing to follow social distancing guidelines, even as the number of cases in the US starts to decline. It is also important to continue to monitor the situation and be prepared to increase social distancing measures if the number of cases starts to rise again.