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Virus Dynamics with Behavioral Responses

Krishna Dasaratha

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Abstract: Motivated by epidemics such as COVID-19, we study the spread of a contagious disease when behavior responds to the disease's prevalence. We extend the SIR epidemiological model to include endogenous meeting rates. Individuals benefit from economic activity, but activity involves interactions with potentially infected individuals. The main focus is a theoretical analysis of contagion dynamics and behavioral responses to changes in risk. We obtain a simple condition for when public-health interventions or changes in disease prevalence will paradoxically increase infection rates due to risk compensation. Behavioral responses are most likely to undermine public-health interventions near the peak of severe diseases.

Date: 2020-04, Revised 2020-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-evo, nep-gen and nep-hea
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