RUB Bauwesen CompEng

Publication: Multiscale Dynamics of COVID-19 and Model-Based Recommendations for 105 Countries

Publication timothy


Dr. Jithender J. Timothy, CompEng- Alumni and Post-Doctoral researcher at the Institute for Structural Mechanics, B.Sc. Vijaya Holla, 3rd semester CompEng student and one of the institute's student assistants, published a paper providing a new insight into the global dynamics of Covid-19, using multiscale modelling. The research was supervised by Prof. Dr. G√ľnther Meschke, CompEng lecturer, who is the head of the Institute for Structural Mechanics.

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, has since spread throughout the world resulting in more than 6.63 million reported infections and 391,000 deaths. As a vaccine is not expected before 2021, currently several non-pharmaceutical interventions such as quarantine, social-distancing, lockdown, shutdowns etc. have been implemented world-wide. However, this has led to unprecedented slowdown of economic activity. There is a lot at stake here.

A novel multiscale mathematical model called the Lattice-SIRQL that takes into account spatial interactions, lockdown measures and quarantine procedures has been proposed for the analysis of the global dynamics of the infection. Using reported data from 105 countries, country-specific model parameters were computed using a global minimization algorithm. According to this procedure, country-specific non-pharmaceutical measures such as lockdown, quarantine and testing is implicitly taken into account. To study the influence of lockdown intensity, lockdown duration and relaxation rate at small geographic scales, an individual-based model was developed that takes into account complex interactions at the scale of a single individual.

Large scale spatially resolved simulations showed that global indicators for COVID-19 can be misleading and that a possibility of a second wave cannot be ruled-out. Using a data-driven approach, country specific recommendations for lockdown continuation and lockdown relaxation have been made (see link). With regards to lockdown procedures, simulations using the individual-based model showed that inefficient lockdown procedures could simply delay the infection. Such sub-optimal measures will not reduce the number of peak infections (i.e. flatten the curve). Moreover, model predictions showed that asymptomatic cases can significantly extend the lifetime of the disease. This was recently confirmed by the WHO on 9 June. This was few days after our paper was uploaded on the medArxiv server.

For detailed information see the paper:
Timothy, Holla & Meschke:
Multiscale Dynamics of COVID19 and Model-Based Recommendations for 105 countries