Scientific Reports (Dec 2021)

Superspreading quantified from bursty epidemic trajectories

  • Julius B. Kirkegaard,
  • Kim Sneppen

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 11, no. 1
pp. 1 – 7


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Abstract The quantification of spreading heterogeneity in the COVID-19 epidemic is crucial as it affects the choice of efficient mitigating strategies irrespective of whether its origin is biological or social. We present a method to deduce temporal and individual variations in the basic reproduction number directly from epidemic trajectories at a community level. Using epidemic data from the 98 districts in Denmark we estimate an overdispersion factor k for COVID-19 to be about 0.11 (95% confidence interval 0.08–0.18), implying that 10 % of the infected cause between 70 % and 87 % of all infections.