A key parameter in epidemiological modeling which characterizes the spread of an infectious disease is the mean serial interval. There is increasing evidence supporting a prolonged viral shedding window for COVID-19, but the transmissibility in this phase is unclear. Based on this, we build a model including an additional compartment of infectious individuals who stay infectious for a longer duration than the reported serial interval, but with infectivity reduced to varying degrees. We find that such an assumption also yields a plausible model in explaining the data observed so far, but has different implications for the future predictions in case of a gradual easing on the lockdown measures. Considering the role of modeling in important decisions such as easing lockdown measures and adjusting hospital capacity, we believe that it is critically important to consider a chronically infectious population as an alternative modeling approach to better interpret the transmission dynamics of COVID-19.
Collection : COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 preprints from medRxiv and bioRxiv