A Network-Based Stochastic Epidemic Simulator: Controlling COVID-19 With Region-Specific Policies

IEEE J Biomed Health Inform. 2020 Oct;24(10):2743-2754. doi: 10.1109/JBHI.2020.3005160. Epub 2020 Jun 26.


In this work, we present an open-source stochastic epidemic simulator calibrated with extant epidemic experience of COVID-19. The simulator models a country as a network representing each node as an administrative region. The transportation connections between the nodes are modeled as the edges of this network. Each node runs a Susceptible-Exposed-Infected-Recovered (SEIR) model and population transfer between the nodes is considered using the transportation networks which allows modeling of the geographic spread of the disease. The simulator incorporates information ranging from population demographics and mobility data to health care resource capacity, by region, with interactive controls of system variables to allow dynamic and interactive modeling of events. The single-node simulator was validated using the thoroughly reported data from Lombardy, Italy. Then, the epidemic situation in Kazakhstan as of 31 May 2020 was accurately recreated. Afterward, we simulated a number of scenarios for Kazakhstan with different sets of policies. We also demonstrate the effects of region-based policies such as transportation limitations between administrative units and the application of different policies for different regions based on the epidemic intensity and geographic location. The results show that the simulator can be used to estimate outcomes of policy options to inform deliberations on governmental interdiction policies.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Computational Biology
  • Computer Simulation
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Coronavirus Infections / transmission
  • Epidemics / prevention & control
  • Epidemics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Kazakhstan / epidemiology
  • Models, Biological*
  • Models, Statistical
  • Pandemics / prevention & control*
  • Pandemics / statistics & numerical data
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / transmission
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Stochastic Processes
  • Transportation