The role of age in the spreading of COVID-19 across a social network in Bucharest


We analyse officially procured data detailing the COVID-19 transmission in Romania’s capital Bucharest between 1st August and 31st October 2020. We apply relational hyperevent models on 19,713 individuals with 13,377 infection ties to determine to what degree the disease spread is affected by age whilst controlling for other covariate and human-to-human transmission network effects.

We find that positive cases are more likely to nominate alters of similar age as their sources of infection, thus providing evidence for age homophily. We also show that the relative infection risk is negatively associated with the age of peers, such that the risk of infection increases as the average age of contacts decreases. Additionally, we find that adults between the ages 35 and 44 are pivotal in the transmission of the disease to other age groups.

Our results may contribute to better controlling future COVID-19 waves, and they also point to the key age groups which may be essential for vaccination given their prominent role in the transmission of the virus.

M. Hâncean, J. Lerner, M. Perc, M. Ghita, D. Bunaciu, A. Stoica, B. Mihaila, The role of age in the spreading of COVID-19 across a social network in Bucharest, Journal of Complex Networks 9 (4) (2021) cnab026