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An Interaction Neyman-Scott Point Process Model for Coronavirus Disease-19

by   J. Park, et al.

With rapid transmission, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has led to over 2 million deaths worldwide, posing significant societal challenges. Understanding the spatial patterns of patient visits and detecting the local spreading events are crucial to controlling disease outbreaks. We analyze highly detailed COVID-19 contact tracing data collected from Seoul, which provides a unique opportunity to understand the mechanism of patient visit occurrence. Analyzing contact tracing data is challenging because patient visits show strong clustering patterns while clusters of events may have complex interaction behavior. To account for such behaviors, we develop a novel interaction Neyman-Scott process that regards the observed patient visit events as offsprings generated from a parent spreading event. Inference for such models is complicated since the likelihood involves intractable normalizing functions. To address this issue, we embed an auxiliary variable algorithm into our Markov chain Monte Carlo. We fit our model to several simulated and real data examples under different outbreak scenarios and show that our method can describe spatial patterns of patient visits well. We also provide visualization tools that can inform public health interventions for infectious diseases such as social distancing.


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