Objective: To model and compare effect of digital contact tracing versus shelter-in-place on severe acute respiratory syndrome – coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spread. Methods: Using a classical epidemiologic framework and parameters estimated from literature published between February 1, 2020, and May 25, 2020, we modeled two non-pharmacologic interventions — shelter-in-place and digital contact tracing — to curb spread of SARS-CoV-2. For contact tracing, we assumed an advanced automated contact tracing (AACT) application that sends alerts to individuals advising self-isolation based on individual exposure profile. Model parameters included percentage population ordered to shelter-in-place, adoption rate of AACT, and percentage individuals who appropriately follow recommendations. Under influence of these variables, the number of individuals infected, exposed, and isolated were estimated. Results: Without any intervention, a high rate of infection (>10 million) with early peak is predicted. Shelter-in-place results in rapid decline in infection rate at the expense of impacting a large population segment. The AACT model achieves reduction in infected and exposed individuals similar to shelter-in-place without impacting a large number of individuals. For example, a 50% AACT adoption rate mimics a shelter-in-place order for 40% of the population and results in a greater than 90% decrease in peak number of infections. However, as compared to shelter-in-place, with AACT significantly fewer individuals would be isolated. Conclusion: Wide adoption of digital contact tracing can mitigate infection spread similar to universal shelter-in-place, but with considerably fewer individuals isolated.
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