Common group dynamic drives modern epidemics across social, financial and biological domains

Physics – Physics and Society

Scientific paper

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Scientific paper

We show that qualitatively different epidemic-like processes from distinct societal domains (finance, social and commercial blockbusters, epidemiology) can be quantitatively understood using the same unifying conceptual framework taking into account the interplay between the timescales of the grouping and fragmentation of social groups together with typical epidemic transmission processes. Different domain-specific empirical infection profiles, featuring multiple resurgences and abnormal decay times, are reproduced simply by varying the timescales for group formation and individual transmission. Our model emphasizes the need to account for the dynamic evolution of multi-connected networks. Our results reveal a new minimally-invasive dynamical method for controlling such outbreaks, help fill a gap in existing epidemiological theory, and offer a new understanding of complex system response functions.

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