Stochastic modelling of COVID-19 spread in Italy

Luca Del Core (University of Groningen)

Friday 22nd January 15:00-16:00


Italy was particularly hard hit during COVID-19 pandemic and the aim of this work is to describe the dynamics of infections within each region and the geographical spread of the virus over time. To this end we extend the standard SIRD framework by introducing pairwise interaction terms between the region-specific infected compartments. That is, we check how the increments of infected people of one region depends on that of another region. That information could be used as a proxy to measure how the epidemics spread geographically. Furthermore, we make all the transition parameters dependent on time so as to capture potential changes in the epidemic spread due to the effect of external factors such as containment measures. We also include the information of the number of tests performed as predictor for the infection parameters. We then use the master equation as probabilistic model to describe the evolution of the temporal process of the states and we focus on its first two-order moments by considering a local linear approximation. Finally we infer the corresponding parameters using a step-wise optimisation procedure which leads to the maximum likelihood estimate.

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