Abstract for: Modeling Epidemic During the Global Mass Gathering of the Hajj Pilgrimage to Assess Strategies to Minimize Health Risks

Preventing the global spread of infectious disease from mass gatherings and ensuring global health security requires evidence-based public health decisions and a rational decision-making framework. There is a lack of comprehensive modeling studies to assess the cost-effectiveness of intervention strategies in infectious disease transmission during mass gatherings. The purpose of this research is to create a simulation model that will assess the impact of mass gatherings on infection rate, as well as the risk and effectiveness of various interventions to control infectious diseases in mass gathering content. This study proposes using system dynamics to investigate the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, a close-contact infectious disease, in Saudi Arabia, particularly in Makkah during Hajj. It will investigate the efficacy of various policies, such as the timing of Hajj/Umrah suspension and limiting the number and demographics of pilgrims, under various epidemic scenarios.