Report released: COVID modelling with Test, Trace and Isolate

Abstract: The efforts to contain SARS-CoV-2 and reduce the impact of COVID-19 have been supported by Test, Trace and Isolate (TTI) systems in many settings, including the United Kingdom. The mathematical models underlying policy decisions about TTI make assumptions about behaviour in the context of a rapidly unfolding and changeable emergency. This study investigates the reported behaviours of UK citizens in July 2021, assesses them against how a set of TTI processes are conceptualised and represented in models and then interprets the findings with modellers who have been contributing evidence to TTI policy. We report on testing practices, including the uses of and trust in different types of testing, and the challenges of testing and isolating faced by different demographic groups. The study demonstrates the potential of input from members of the public to benefit the modelling process, from guiding the choice of research questions, influencing choice of model structure, informing parameter ranges and validating or challenging assumptions, to highlighting where model assumptions are reasonable or where their poor reflection of practice might lead to uninformative results. We conclude that deeper engagement with members of the public should be integrated at regular stages of public health intervention modelling.


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