Susceptibility-adjusted herd immunity threshold model and potential R0 distribution fitting the observed Covid-19 data in Stockholm

Abstract

The reproduction number, R0, is commonly used, and sometimes misused, in conjunction with the classic Kermack and McKindrick theory based on the assumption of homogeneity, in order to estimate herd immunity threshold (HIT). This provides a crude first estimate of HIT, with more elaborate modelling required to arrive at a more realistic value. Early estimates of HIT for Covid-19 were based on this simplistic homogeneous approach, yielding high HIT values that have since been revised downwards with more sophisticated network modelling taking account of R0 heterogeneity and with reference to the low HIT found from serological sampling in Stockholm County. The aim of this paper is to describe a simple model in which host susceptibility is directly linked to the heterogeneous R0 distribution, to shed further light on the mechanisms involved and to arrive at a bimodal R0 distribution consistent with the Covid-19 HIT observed in Stockholm County.

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