Abstract for: Managing emerging waves in a pandemic: A Systems modelling-based study
Government-led non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) coupled with adaptive changes in public behaviour have been instrumental in the management of the Covid-19 pandemic. The aim of this study is to simulate the effect of interventions such as lockdowns and enforced mask wearing by governments, and personal choices such as reduced mobility and distancing by individuals, on subsequent wave frequency and intensity. We study the impact of the introduction and gradual loosening of NPIs, coupled with emergent public behaviour (as an adaptive response to public information on virus caseload) on the pace of spread of infection. We incorporate additional features such as a) emergence of a new variant, b) adaptive behaviour of individuals as the pace of spread changes and c) waning immunity. We observe the emergent pattern of behavior for new infections under modified conditions, and compare it to chosen strategies and their impact. Our results support the hypothesis that it is possible to infer the extent to which various interventions and changes in public behavior can affect the spread of the disease.