Delayed model for the transmission and control of COVID-19 with Fangcang Shelter Hospitals
The ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic poses a huge threat to global public health. Motivated by China’s experience of using Fangcang shelter hospitals (FSHs) to successfully combat the epidemic in its initial stages, we present a two-stage delay model considering the average waiting time of patients’ admission to study the impact of hospital beds and centralized quarantine on mitigating and controlling of the outbreak. We compute the basic reproduction number in terms of the hospital resources and perform a sensitivity analysis of the average waiting times of patients before admission to the hospitals. We conclude that, while designated hospitals save the lives of severely infected individuals, the FSHs played a key role in mitigating and eventually curbing the epidemic. We also quantified some key epidemiological indicators, such as the final size of infections and deaths, the peak height and its timing, and the maximum occupation of beds in FSHs. Our study suggests that, for a jurisdiction (region or country) still struggling with COVID-19, when possible, it is essential to increase testing capacity and use a centralized quarantine to massively reduce the severity and magnitude of the epidemic that follows.