COVID-19 Epidemiological Projections for Penn State University Under Its Current Testing Plan
We present projected scenarios of the likely effect of the current policies announced by the Pennsylvania State University (PSU) administration to contain the spread of COVID- 19 on the University Park (UP) undergraduate population. The basic epidemiological model we use, a compartmental model due to Paltiel et al.  is a discrete-time SEIR (susceptible-exposed-infected-recovered) model that considers the possibility of repeated testing a fraction of students with a test of given sensitivity and selectivity. We conducted Monte Carlo simulations on the key SEIR parameters from estimates in the medical literature, and investigated the effect of the Fall semester university plans on the Faculty, Staff and surrounding adult population in State College. Our main finding, under optimistic assumptions for the model parameters and including contact tracing in an approximate manner, is that the current PSU plan, which calls for testing 30% of all persons on campus before arrival and daily surveillance testing of 1% per day (about 700 tests/day at UP) will be insufficient to contain the spread of the disease in the UP campus. The quarantine capacity set by the university (which we assume to be about 350 rooms) will overflow at some point halfway through the Fall semester. It is then quite possible that thousands of asymptomatic infected students could further spread the disease outside State College upon their return to their homes in Thanksgiving. The possibility of observing some student deaths under the PSU plan cannot be discarded.
|COVID-19 Epidemiological Projections for Penn State University Under Its Current Testing Plan
|CC BY-NC 4.0 (Attribution-NonCommercial)
|August 25, 2020
|September 02, 2020
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