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Collapse transition in epidemic spreading subject to detection with limited resources

Compartmental models are the most widely used framework for modeling infectious diseases. These models have been continuously refined to incorporate all the realistic mechanisms that can shape the course of an epidemic outbreak.

Building on a compartmental model that accounts for early detection and isolation of infectious individuals through testing, in this article we focus on the viability of detection processes under limited availability of testing resources, and we study how the latter impacts on the detection rate.

Our results show that, in addition to the well-known epidemic transition at R0=1, a second transition occurs at R0>1 pinpointing the collapse of the detection system and, as a consequence, the switch from a regime of mitigation to a regime in which the pathogen spreads freely.

We characterize the epidemic phase diagram of the model as a function of the relevant control parameters: the basic reproduction number, the maximum detection capacity of the system, and the fraction of individuals in shelter.

Our analysis thus provides a valuable tool for estimating the detection resources and the level of confinement needed to face epidemic outbreaks.

S. Lamata-Otín, A. Reyna-Lara, D. Soriano-Panos, V. Latora, J. Gómez-Gardenes, Collapse transition in epidemic spreading subject to detection with limited resources, Physical Review E 108 (2023) 024305.

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