Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Transmission Dynamics Should Inform Policy

Clin Infect Dis. 2021 Jul 30;73(Suppl 2):S170-S176. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciaa1442.


It is generally agreed that striking a balance between resuming economic and social activities and keeping the effective reproductive number (R0) below 1 using nonpharmaceutical interventions is an important goal until and even after effective vaccines become available. Therefore, the need remains to understand how the virus is transmitted in order to identify high-risk environments and activities that disproportionately contribute to its spread so that effective preventative measures could be put in place. Contact tracing and household studies, in particular, provide robust evidence about the parameters of transmission. In this Viewpoint, we discuss the available evidence from large-scale, well-conducted contact-tracing studies from across the world and argue that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission dynamics should inform policy decisions about mitigation strategies for targeted interventions according to the needs of the society by directing attention to the settings, activities, and socioeconomic factors associated with the highest risks of transmission.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; coronavirus; novel coronavirus; transmission.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Basic Reproduction Number
  • COVID-19*
  • Contact Tracing
  • Humans
  • Policy
  • SARS-CoV-2*