Differing impacts of global and regional responses on SARS-CoV-2 transmission cluster dynamics

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Brittany Rife MagalisM. Salemi


Although the global response to COVID-19 has not been entirely unified, the opportunity arises to assess the impact of regional public health interventions and to classify strategies according to their outcome. Analysis of genetic sequence data gathered over the course of the pandemic allows us to link the dynamics associated with networks of connected individuals with specific interventions. In this study, clusters of transmission were inferred from a phylogenetic tree representing the relationships of patient sequences sampled from December 30, 2019 to April 17, 2020. Metadata comprising sampling time and location were used to define the global behavior of transmission over this earlier sampling period, but also the involvement of individual regions in transmission cluster dynamics. Results demonstrate a positive impact of international travel restrictions and nationwide lockdowns on global cluster dynamics. However, residual, localized clusters displayed a wide range of estimated initial secondary infection rates, for which uniform public health interventions are unlikely to have sustainable effects. Our findings highlight the presence of so-called "super-spreaders", with the propensity to infect a larger-than-average number...Continue Reading

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