Predicting COVID-19 Infections Using Multi-layer Centrality Measures in Population-scale Networks

Christine Hedde-von Westernhagen, Javier Garcia-Bernardo, Ayoub Bagheri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Understanding the spread of SARS-CoV-2 has been one of the most pressing problems of the recent past. Network models present a potent approach to studying such spreading phenomena because of their ability to represent complex social interactions. While previous studies have shown that network centrality measures are generally able to identify influential spreaders in a susceptible population, it is not yet known if they can also be used to predict infection risks. However, information about infection risks at the individual level is vital for the design of targeted interventions. Here, we use large-scale administrative data from the Netherlands to study whether centrality measures can predict the risk and timing of infections with COVID-19-like diseases. We investigate this issue leveraging the framework of multi-layer networks, which accounts for interactions taking place in different contexts, such as workplaces, households and schools. In epidemic models simulated on real-world network data from over one million individuals, we find that existing centrality measures offer good predictions of relative infection risks, and are correlated with the timing of individual infections. We however find no association between centrality measures and real SARS-CoV-2 test data, which indicates that population-scale network data alone cannot aid predictions of virus transmission.
Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Network Science
VolumeXX
Issue numberX
Publication statusSubmitted - 2024

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