A model and predictions for COVID-19 considering population behavior and vaccination
The effect of vaccination coupled with the behavioral response of the population is not well understood. Our model incorporates two important dynamically varying population behaviors: level of caution and sense of safety. Level of caution increases with infectious cases, while an increasing sense of safety with increased vaccination lowers precautions. Our model accurately reproduces the complete time history of COVID-19 infections for various regions of the United States. We propose a parameter d_I as a direct measure of a population’s caution against an infectious disease that can be obtained from the infectious cases. The model provides quantitative measures of highest disease transmission rate, effective transmission rate, and cautionary behavior. We predict future COVID-19 trends in the United States accounting for vaccine rollout and behavior. Although a high rate of vaccination is critical to quickly ending the pandemic, a return towards pre-pandemic social behavior due to increased sense of safety during vaccine deployment can cause an alarming surge in infections. Our results predict that at the current rate of vaccination, the new infection cases for COVID-19 in the United States will approach zero by August 2021. This model can be used for other regions and for future epidemics and pandemics.