Transmission Dynamics of COVID-19 in Georgia, USA

Emory Team Members: Dr. Max Lau, Dr. Ben Lopman, Dr. Kristin Nelson, Yuke Yang, Casey Siesel

GDPH Team Members: Dr. Laura Edison, Michael Thomas

This project aims to understand the transmission dynamics of COVID-19 in Georgia using relevant modeling techniques.

The specific goals include:

  1. quantifying the effectiveness of population-level interventions including shelter-in-place order,
  2. understanding transmission heterogeneity including super-spreading and age-specific infectiousness,
  3. providing up-to-date estimation of outbreak severity (summarized by the reproductive number),
  4. understanding transmission within facilities – specifically estimation of reproductive number and transmission patterns within nursing homes and the relationship to community transmission,  
  5. identifying risk factors for infection among healthcare workers and
  6. monitoring age-specific trends in reported cases.

This set of projects will help GDPH to better understand the risk factors of transmission, impact of community and facility-level interventions and to plan for more optimal control measures.

Published in PNAS in September 2020, this paper concludes that superspreading is ubiquitous over space and time, and has particular importance in rural areas and later stages of an outbreak. The results improve our understanding of the natural history of the virus and have important implications for designing optimal control measures.

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Published in Annals of Internal Medicine in January 2021, this paper identifies occupational risk factors for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection among health care workers (HCWs) to improve HCW and patient safety. Demographic and community risk factors, including contact with a COVID-19–positive person and Black race, are more strongly associated with SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity among HCWs than is exposure in the workplace.

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