Long-term benefits of nonpharmaceutical interventions for endemic infections are shaped by respiratory pathogen dynamics

Rachel E. Baker, Chadi M. Saad-Roy, Sang Woo Park, Jeremy Farrar, C. Jessica E. Metcalf, Bryan T. Grenfell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

COVID-19 nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), including mask wearing, have proved highly effective at reducing the transmission of endemic infections. A key public health question is whether NPIs could continue to be implemented long term to reduce the ongoing burden from endemic pathogens. Here, we use epidemiological models to explore the impact of long-term NPIs on the dynamics of endemic infections. We find that the introduction of NPIs leads to a strong initial reduction in incidence, but this effect is transient: As susceptibility increases, epidemics return while NPIs are in place. For low R0 infections, these return epidemics are of reduced equilibrium incidence and epidemic peak size. For high R0 infections, return epidemics are of similar magnitude to pre-NPI outbreaks. Our results underline that managing ongoing susceptible buildup, e.g., with vaccination, remains an important long-term goal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2208895119
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume119
Issue number49
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 6 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

Keywords

  • SARS-CoV-2
  • dynamics
  • masking

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