Nakamura G., Plaszczynski S., Grammaticos B., Badoual M.
Modelling the Effect of Virulent Variants with SIR
2021, Vol. 17, no. 4, pp. 475-490
We study the effect of an emerging virus mutation on the evolution of an epidemic, inspired by the appearance of the delta variant of SARS-CoV-2. We show that if the new variant is markedly more infective than the existing ones the epidemic can resurge immediately. The vaccination of the population plays a crucial role in the evolution of the epidemic. When the older (and more vulnerable) layers of the population are protected, the new infections concern mainly younger people, resulting in fewer hospitalisations and a reduced stress on the health system. We study also the effects of vacations, partially effective vaccines and vaccination strategies based on epidemic-awareness. An important finding concerns vaccination deniers: their attitude may lead to a prolonged wave of epidemic and an increased number of hospital admissions.