Staffini A, Svensson AK, Chung UI, Svensson T
JMIR Med Inform - (-) - [2021-03-21; online 2021-03-21]
The spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus originating in Wuhan, China, was classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020. The governments of affected countries have implemented various measures to limit the spread of the virus. The starting point of this paper is the different government approaches, in terms of promulgating new legislative regulations to limit the virus diffusion and to contain negative effects on the populations. The objective of this paper is to study how the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is linked to the government policies, and to analyse how different policies have produced different results on public health. Considering the official data provided by 4 countries (Italy, Germany, Sweden and Brazil) and from the measures implemented by their respective governments, we built an Agent-Based Model (ABM) to study the effects that these measures will have over time on different variables such as the total number of COVID-19 cases, intensive care unit (ICU) bed occupancy rates, and recovery and case fatality rates. The model we implemented provides for the possibility of modifying some starting variables, and it was thus possible to study the effects that some policies (such as keeping the national borders closed or the increase in ICU beds) would have had on the spread of the infection. The 4 considered countries have adopted different containment measures for SARS-CoV-2, and the forecasts provided by the model for the considered variables have given different results. Italy and Germany seem to be able to limit the spread of the infection and any eventual "second wave", while Sweden and Brazil do not seem to have the situation under control. This situation is reflected also in the forecasts of pressure on the National Health Services, which see Sweden and Brazil with a high occupancy rate of ICU beds also in the coming months, with a consequent high number of deaths. In line with what we expected, the obtained results show that the countries that have taken very restrictive measures in terms of limiting the mobility of the population have managed, more successfully than others, to contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Moreover, the model demonstrates that herd immunity cannot be reached even in countries which have relied on a strategy without strict containment measures. Not Applicable.