(Press-News.org) BROOKLYN, New York, Wednesday, February 24, 2021 - Travel bans have been key to efforts by many countries to control the spread of COVID-19. But new research aimed at providing a decision support system to Italian policy makers, recently published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, suggests that reducing individual activity (i.e., social distancing, closure of non-essential business, etc.) is far superior in controlling the dissemination of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The research, which has implications for the United States and other countries, found that limiting personal mobility through travel restrictions and similar tactics is effective only in the first phases of the epidemic, and reduces in proportion to the spread of infection across a population.
In the study, "Modelling and predicting the effect of social distancing and travel restrictions on COVID-19 spreading" the researchers, led by Alessandro Rizzo, visiting professor in the Office of Innovation at NYU Tandon and professor at the Politecnico di Torino, and Maurizio Porfiri Institute Professor of mechanical and aerospace, biomedical and civil and urban engineering at NYU Tandon and a member of the Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP), detail a data modeling framework for isolating the differential efficacy of different COVID-19 intervention policies. Since their method benefits from a low computational load (it can easily run on a personal computer), it can be a valuable decision support system to policy makers, toward the implementation of combined containment actions that can protect citizens' health, while avoiding total closures, with all their economic, social, and psychological consequences.
"While this project was focused specifically on Italy, the results are revelatory for virtually any country relying on travel restrictions to stem the spread of the pandemic. We look forward to using US data to tune the model and give specific answers to combat this delicate phase of the pandemic," said Porfiri.
Added Rizzo, "We are particularly satisfied with this model, as it provides very detailed answers even though it relies only on aggregated sources of data - a further guarantee of people's privacy."
The work includes a realistic representation of demographic data and travel patterns of both commuters and those taking long-distance trips, using only aggregated and publicly available data, without resorting to individual tracking devices. It follows upon a study on the spread of Covid-19 in New Rochelle, New York predicting the diffusion of COVID-19 in medium sized cities and provinces, published as the cover of Advanced Modeling and Simulations (Wiley),
The investigators, including Francesco Parino of Politecnico di Torino and Lorenzo Zino of the University of Groningen, The Netherlands, also found that selective lockdown policies, for example restriction only on the activity of the elderly, seems not to have a great effect on the overall transmission of the epidemic.
Deploying their algorithmic framework to model scenarios in which restrictions are lifted, discovered that restrictions on social activity must be gradually removed to avoid a second wave, while the timing and swiftness of removal of travel restrictions seem not to have a great effect on the transmission.
In view of the scarce resources and the inherent slowness of vaccination campaigns, the research group is now engaged in the use of the model to assess the effect of different vaccination policies, toward the definition of vaccination rollouts that will aim at providing an optimal outcome in spite of the limited resources in terms of vaccine doses and operators.
The U.S. National Science Foundation (CMMI-1561134 and CMMI-2027990), Compagnia di San Paolo, MAECI ('Mac2Mic'), the European Research Council (ERC-CoG-771687), and The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO-vidi-14134) provided generous support for this research.
About the New York University Tandon School of Engineering
The NYU Tandon School of Engineering dates to 1854, the founding date for both the New York University School of Civil Engineering and Architecture and the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute. A January 2014 merger created a comprehensive school of education and research in engineering and applied sciences as part of a global university, with close connections to engineering programs at NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai. NYU Tandon is rooted in a vibrant tradition of entrepreneurship, intellectual curiosity, and innovative solutions to humanity's most pressing global challenges. Research at Tandon focuses on vital intersections between communications/IT, cybersecurity, and data science/AI/robotics systems and tools and critical areas of society that they influence, including emerging media, health, sustainability, and urban living. We believe diversity is integral to excellence, and are creating a vibrant, inclusive, and equitable environment for all of our students, faculty and staff. For more information, visit engineering.nyu.edu.
MIAMI--Researchers have perfected the recipe for keeping sea anemone and coral cells alive in a petri dish for up to 12 days. The new study, led by scientists at the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, has important applications to study everything from evolutionary biology to human health.
Cnidarians are emerging model organisms for cell and molecular biology research. Yet, successfully keeping their cells in a laboratory setting has proved challenging due to contamination from the many microorganisms that live within these marine organisms or because the whole tissue survive in a culture environment.
UM cell ...
New hydrogel-based materials that can change shape in response to psychological stimuli, such as water, could be the next generation of materials used to bioengineer tissues and organs, according to a team of researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago.
In a new paper published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, the research team -- led by Eben Alsberg, the Richard and Loan Hill Professor of Biomedical Engineering -- that developed the substances show that the unique materials can curl into tubes in response to water, making the materials good candidates for bioengineering blood vessels or other tubular structures.
In nature, embryonic development and tissue healing often involve ...
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] -- Volcanic rock samples collected during NASA's Apollo missions bear the isotopic signature of key events in the early evolution of the Moon, a new analysis found. Those events include the formation of the Moon's iron core, as well as the crystallization of the lunar magma ocean -- the sea of molten rock thought to have covered the Moon for around 100 million years after the it formed.
The analysis, published in the journal Science Advances, used a technique called secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) to study volcanic glasses returned ...
While COVID-19-related lockdowns may have decreased the spread of a deadly virus, they appear to have created an ideal environment for increased domestic violence.c
Data collected in surveys of nearly 400 adults for 10 weeks beginning in April 2020 suggest that more services and communication are needed so that even front-line health and food bank workers, for example -- rather than only social workers, doctors and therapists -- can spot the signs and ask clients questions about potential intimate partner violence. They could then help lead victims to resources, said Clare Cannon, assistant professor of social and environmental justice in the Department of Human Ecology and the lead author of the study.
The paper, "COVID-19, intimate partner violence, and communication ...
BOSTON - Swelling of lymph nodes in the armpit area is a normal response to COVID-19 vaccinations, but when they are seen on mammograms, they can be mistaken for nodes that are swollen because of cancer. In some cases, the nodes are biopsied to confirm they are not cancer. To avoid confusion by patients and their providers, and to avoid delays in either vaccinations or recommended mammograms through the pandemic, radiologists at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have published an approach to manage what is expected to be a fairly common occurrence as vaccination programs ramp up. The approach is described in the American Journal of Roentgenology.
"We had started ...
A new study from North Carolina State University reveals that the soundscapes of coral reef ecosystems can recover quickly from severe weather events such as hurricanes. The work also demonstrates that non-invasive monitoring is an important tool in shedding further light on these key ecosystems.
Soundscape ecology is a relatively new way for researchers to keep tabs on a variety of habitats without direct interference. In underwater habitats like coral reefs, soundscapes allow continual monitoring of an ecosystem that is difficult to access. By deploying underwater microphones, or hydrophones, researchers can get an acoustic picture of the types of animals in the ecosystem, as well as their behavior patterns.
Kayelyn Simmons, a Ph.D. student at NC State, used soundscapes and ...
NASA's Parker Solar Probe captured stunning views of Venus during its close flyby of the planet in July 2020.
Though Parker Solar Probe's focus is the Sun, Venus plays a critical role in the mission: The spacecraft whips by Venus a total of seven times over the course of its seven-year mission, using the planet's gravity to bend the spacecraft's orbit. These Venus gravity assists allow Parker Solar Probe to fly closer and closer to the Sun on its mission to study the dynamics of the solar wind close to its source.
But -- along with the orbital dynamics -- these passes can also yield some unique and even unexpected views of the inner solar system. During the mission's third ...
Evolutionary expert Charles Darwin and others recognized a close evolutionary relationship between humans, chimps and gorillas based on their shared anatomies, raising some big questions: how are humans related to other primates, and exactly how did early humans move around? Research by a Texas A&M University professor may provide some answers.
Thomas Cody Prang, assistant professor of anthropology, and colleagues examined the skeletal remains of Ardipithecus ramidus ("Ardi"), dated to 4.4 million years old and found in Ethiopia. One of Ardi's hands was exceptionally well-preserved.
The researchers compared the shape of Ardi's hand to hundreds of other hand specimens representing recent humans, apes and monkeys (measured ...
A study co-authored by scientists at the New England Aquarium has found that known deaths of critically endangered North Atlantic right whales represent a fraction of the true death toll. This comes as the death of a calf and recent sightings of entangled right whales off the southeastern United States raise alarm.
The study, published this month in END ...
Ithaca, NY-- During mating season, male bearded seals make loud calls to attract a mate--even their "quiet" call could still be as ear-rattling as a chainsaw. Bearded seals have to be loud to be heard over the cacophony of their equally loud brethren. And, increasingly, the noise humans make is adding to the underwater din and could have serious consequences. A study conducted by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Center for Conservation Bioacoustics (CCB) aims to understand how resilient bearded seals can be to changes in ambient underwater noise. The results are published in Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Science.
"We wanted to know whether bearded seals would call louder when ...