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Extreme COVID-19 waves reveal hyperexponential growth and finite-time singularity
I. Pavithran,
Published in American Institute of Physics Inc.
PMID: 35489852
Volume: 32
Issue: 4
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has rapidly spread throughout our planet, bringing human lives to a standstill. Understanding the early transmission dynamics of a wave helps plan intervention strategies such as lockdowns that mitigate further spread, minimizing the adverse impact on humanity and the economy. Exponential growth of infections was thought to be the defining feature of an epidemic in its initial growth phase. Here we show that, contrary to common belief, early stages of extreme COVID-19 waves have an unbounded growth and finite-time singularity accompanying a hyperexponential power-law. The faster than exponential growth phase is hazardous and would entail stricter regulations to minimize further spread. Such a power-law description allows us to characterize COVID-19 waves better using single power-law exponents, rather than using piecewise exponentials. Furthermore, we identify the presence of log-periodic patterns decorating the power-law growth. These log-periodic oscillations may enable better prediction of the finite-time singularity. We anticipate that our findings of hyperexponential growth and log-periodicity will enable accurate modeling of outbreaks of COVID-19 or similar future outbreaks of other emergent epidemics. © 2022 Author(s).
About the journal
PublisherAmerican Institute of Physics Inc.