Factors influencing SARS-CoV-2 transmission and outbreak control measures in densely populated settings

Abstract

Starting with a handful of SARS-CoV-2 infections in dormitory residents in late March 2020, rapid transmission in their dense living environments ensued and by October 2020, more than 50,000 acute infections were identified across various dormitories in Singapore. The aim of the study is to identify combination of factors facilitating SARS-CoV-2 transmission and the impact of control measures in a dormitory through extensive epidemiological, serological and phylogenetic investigations, supported by simulation models. Our findings showed that asymptomatic cases and symptomatic cases who did not seek medical attention were major drivers of the outbreak. Furthermore, each resident had about 30 close contacts and each infected resident spread to 4.4 (IQR 3.5–5.3) others at the start of the outbreak. The final attack rate of the current outbreak was 76.2% (IQR 70.6–98.0%) and could be reduced by further 10% under a modified dormitory housing condition. These findings are important when designing living environments in a post COVID-19 future to reduce disease spread and facilitate rapid implementation of outbreak control measures.

Citation: Pung, R., Lin, B., Maurer-Stroh, S. et al. Factors influencing SARS-CoV-2 transmission and outbreak control measures in densely populated settings. Sci Rep 11, 15297 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-94463-3

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