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Modelling collective decision-making during epidemics

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Document pages: 46 pages

Abstract: The outcome of an epidemic outbreak can be critically shaped by thecollective behavioural response of the population. Likewise, individualdecision-making is highly influenced by the overwhelming pressure of epidemicspreading. However, existing models lack the ability to capture this complexinterdependence over the entire course of the epidemic. We introduce a novelparsimonious network model, grounded in evolutionary game theory, in whichdecision-making and epidemics co-evolve, shaped by an interplay of factorsmapped onto a minimal set of model parameters ---including government-mandatedinterventions, socio-economic costs, perceived infection risks and socialinfluences. This interplay gives rise to a range of characteristic phenomenathat can be captured within this general framework, such as sustained periodicoutbreaks, multiple epidemic waves, or prompt behavioural response ensuring asuccessful eradication of the disease. The model s potentialities aredemonstrated by three case studies based on real-world gonorrhoea, 1918--19Spanish flu and COVID-19.

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