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The effect of social distancing on the reach of an epidemic in social networks.

  • Author(s): Gutin, Gregory
  • Hirano, Tomohiro
  • Hwang, Sung-Ha
  • Neary, Philip R
  • Toda, Alexis Akira
  • et al.
Abstract

How does social distancing affect the reach of an epidemic in social networks? We present Monte Carlo simulation results of a susceptible-infected-removed with social distancing model. The key feature of the model is that individuals are limited in the number of acquaintances that they can interact with, thereby constraining disease transmission to an infectious subnetwork of the original social network. While increased social distancing typically reduces the spread of an infectious disease, the magnitude varies greatly depending on the topology of the network, indicating the need for policies that are network dependent. Our results also reveal the importance of coordinating policies at the 'global' level. In particular, the public health benefits from social distancing to a group (e.g. a country) may be completely undone if that group maintains connections with outside groups that are not following suit.

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