Published time: 22 June 2020
Authors: Leonardo López, Xavier Rodó
The lack of effective pharmaceutical interventions for SARS-CoV-2 raises the possibility of COVID-19 recurrence. We explore different post-confinement scenarios by using a stochastic modified SEIR (susceptible–exposed–infectious–recovered) model that accounts for the spread of infection during the latent period and also incorporates time-decaying effects due to potential loss of acquired immunity, people’s increasing awareness of social distancing and the use of non-pharmaceutical interventions. Our results suggest that lockdowns should remain in place for at least 60 days to prevent epidemic growth, as well as a potentially larger second wave of SARS-CoV-2 cases occurring within months. The best-case scenario should also gradually incorporate workers in a daily proportion at most 50% higher than during the confinement period. We show that decaying immunity and particularly awareness and behaviour have 99% significant effects on both the current wave of infection and on preventing COVID-19 re-emergence. Social distancing and individual non-pharmaceutical interventions could potentially remove the need for lockdowns.