Superspreader Events Play Supersized Role in COVID-19 Disease Transmission

Mathematical analysis suggests that preventing large gatherings could significantly reduce Covid-19 infection rates.

There have been many documented cases of Covid-19 “super-spreading” events, in which one person infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus infects many other people. But how much of a role do these events play in the overall spread of the disease? A new study from MIT suggests that they have a much larger impact than expected.

Super-spreading events are likely more important than most of us had initially realized. Even though they are extreme events, they are probable and thus are likely occurring at a higher frequency than we thought. If we can control the super-spreading events, we have a much greater chance of getting this pandemic under control.

James Collins, the Termeer Professor of Medical Engineering and Science in MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES) and Department of Biological Engineering