There have been many documented cases of Covid-19 “super-spreading” events, in which one person infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus infects many other people.
There have been many documented cases of Covid-19 “super-spreading” events, in which one person infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus infects many other people. But how much of a role do these events play in the overall spread of the disease? A new study from MIT suggests that they have a much larger impact than expected.
The study of about 60 super-spreading events shows that events where one person infects more than six other people are much more common than would be expected if the range of transmission rates followed statistical distributions commonly used in epidemiology.
Based on their findings, the researchers also developed a mathematical model of Covid-19 transmission, which they used to show that limiting gatherings to 10 or fewer people could significantly reduce the number of super-spreading events and lower the overall number of infections.
“Super-spreading events are likely more important than most of us had initially realized. Even though they are extreme events, they are probable and thus are likely occurring at a higher frequency than we thought. If we can control the super-spreading events, we have a much greater chance of getting this pandemic under control,” says James Collins, the Termeer Professor of Medical Engineering and Science in MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES) and Department of Biological Engineering and the senior author of the new study.
Read more at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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