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Transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 in a strictly-Orthodox Jewish community in the UK


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Some social settings such as households and workplaces, have been identified as high risk for SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Identifying and quantifying the importance of these settings is critical for designing interventions. A tightly-knit religious community in the UK experienced a very large COVID-19 epidemic in 2020, reaching 64.3% seroprevalence within 10 months, and we surveyed this community both for serological status and individual-level attendance at particular settings. Using these data, and a network model of people and places represented as a stochastic graph rewriting system, we estimated the relative contribution of transmission in households, schools and religious institutions to the epidemic, and the relative risk of infection in each of these settings. All congregate settings were important for transmission, with some such as primary schools and places of worship having a higher share of transmission than others. We found that the model needed a higher general-community transmission rate for women (3.3-fold), and lower susceptibility to infection in children to recreate the observed serological data. The precise share of transmission in each place was related to assumptions about the internal structure of those places. Identification of key settings of transmission can allow public health interventions to be targeted at these locations.



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his article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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Waites, William, Pearson, Carl A. B., Gaskell, Katherine M., House, Thomas, Pellis, Lorenzo, Johnson, Marina, Gould, Victoria, Hunt, Adam, Stone, Neil RH, Kasstan, Ben, Chantler, Tracey, Lal, Sham, Roberts, Chrissy H., Goldblatt, David, CMMID COVID-19 Working Group, Marks, Michael, Eggo, Rosalind M. Transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 in a strictly-Orthodox Jewish community in the UK. Scientific Reports. 2022: 8550.  https://archive.jpr.org.uk/10.1038/s41598-022-12517-6