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 language||English (US)|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Dec 6 2022|
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