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Article

Complex Contact Network of Patients at the Beginning of an Epidemic Outbreak: An Analysis Based on 1218 COVID-19 Cases in China

1
School of Humanities and Social Science, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710049, China
2
Institute for Empirical Social Science Research, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710049, China
3
School of Social Development and Public Policy, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
4
School of Management, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710049, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jianyong Wu
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(2), 689; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19020689
Received: 1 December 2021 / Revised: 3 January 2022 / Accepted: 5 January 2022 / Published: 8 January 2022
(This article belongs to the Collection Outbreak of a Novel Coronavirus: A Global Health Threat)
The spread of viruses essentially occurs through the interaction and contact between people, which is closely related to the network of interpersonal relationships. Based on the epidemiological investigations of 1218 COVID-19 cases in eight areas of China, we use text analysis, social network analysis and visualization methods to construct a dynamic contact network of the epidemic. We analyze the corresponding demographic characteristics, network indicators, and structural characteristics of this network. We found that more than 65% of cases are likely to be infected by a strong relationship, and nearly 40% of cases have family members infected at the same time. The overall connectivity of the contact network is low, but there are still some clustered infections. In terms of the degree distribution, most cases’ degrees are concentrated between 0 and 2, which is relatively low, and only a few ones have a higher degree value. The degree distribution also conforms to the power law distribution, indicating the network is a scale-free network. There are 17 cases with a degree greater than 10, and these cluster infections are usually caused by local transmission. The first implication of this research is we find that the COVID-19 spread is closely related to social structures by applying computational sociological methods for infectious disease studies; the second implication is to confirm that text analysis can quickly visualize the spread trajectory at the beginning of an epidemic. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; social network analysis; contact network; dynamic network evolution COVID-19; social network analysis; contact network; dynamic network evolution
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MDPI and ACS Style

Yang, Z.; Zhang, J.; Gao, S.; Wang, H. Complex Contact Network of Patients at the Beginning of an Epidemic Outbreak: An Analysis Based on 1218 COVID-19 Cases in China. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 689. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19020689

AMA Style

Yang Z, Zhang J, Gao S, Wang H. Complex Contact Network of Patients at the Beginning of an Epidemic Outbreak: An Analysis Based on 1218 COVID-19 Cases in China. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(2):689. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19020689

Chicago/Turabian Style

Yang, Zhangbo, Jiahao Zhang, Shanxing Gao, and Hui Wang. 2022. "Complex Contact Network of Patients at the Beginning of an Epidemic Outbreak: An Analysis Based on 1218 COVID-19 Cases in China" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19, no. 2: 689. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19020689

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