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Analyzing the Control Measures for the Homeless Population and Quantifying their Impact on the COVID-19 Epidemic in New York City

Abstract:

An outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) emerged in Wuhan, China in late December. Within four months, the World Health Organization (WHO) charac-terized the disease as a pandemic. As of July 10, 2020, the United States has reported more confirmed cases than any other country, and the count continues to increase. The state of New York has been the hardest hit with 404,000 confirmed cases, 223,000 of which are attributed to New York City (NYC) alone. Given that homelessness in NYC has reached its highest level since the Great Depression and many of the precaution-ary measures for preventing COVID-19 are not an option for the homeless, a major concern is the contribution of this group to the prolongation of the epidemic. In order to analyze the role of the homeless population in NYC’s COVID-19 dynamics, we use a SEIR-like, two-group epidemic model, for the homeless and housed populations un-der preferential mixing. Parameter values and initial states, whenever possible, were defined using publicly available data about COVID-19 and homelessness in NYC. Our findings indicate that preferential mixing and compliance with precautionary measures have a significant influence on the final epidemic size for NYC. We use these results to discuss the importance of the homeless population when considering the wellness of the city.

 

Year: 2020

George Avecillas - Haverford College

Steven Manns - Ohio Northern University

Hana Tekle - University of Maryland, Baltimore County 

Lucero Rodrgiuez Rodriguez - Arizona State University

Nao Yamamoto - Arizona State University

 

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