Kinetic models for epidemic dynamics with social heterogeneity

G. Dimarco, B. Perthame, G. Toscani, M. Zanella

Journal of Mathematical Biology, 83, 4, 2021. (Preprint arXiv)

We introduce a mathematical description of the impact of sociality in the spread of infectious diseases by integrating an epidemiological dynamics with a kinetic modeling of population-based contacts. The kinetic description leads to study the evolution over time of Boltzmann-type equa- tions describing the number densities of social contacts of susceptible, infected and recovered indi- viduals, whose proportions are driven by a classical SIR-type compartmental model in epidemiology. Explicit calculations show that the spread of the disease is closely related to moments of the con- tact distribution. Furthermore, the kinetic model allows to clarify how a selective control can be assumed to achieve a minimal lockdown strategy by only reducing individuals undergoing a very large number of daily contacts. We conduct numerical simulations which confirm the ability of the model to describe different phenomena characteristic of the rapid spread of an epidemic. Motiv- ated by the COVID-19 pandemic, a last part is dedicated to fit numerical solutions of the proposed model with infection data coming from different European countries.