Peer Review History

Original SubmissionMarch 31, 2020
Decision Letter - Angelo Brandelli Costa, Editor

PONE-D-20-09143

Covid19:

unless one gets everyone to act, policies may be ineffective or even backfire

PLOS ONE

Dear Professor Pin,

Thank you for submitting your manuscript to PLOS ONE. After careful consideration, we feel that it has merit but does not fully meet PLOS ONE’s publication criteria as it currently stands. Therefore, we invite you to submit a revised version of the manuscript that addresses the points raised during the review process.

We would appreciate receiving your revised manuscript by Jul 05 2020 11:59PM. When you are ready to submit your revision, log on to https://www.editorialmanager.com/pone/ and select the 'Submissions Needing Revision' folder to locate your manuscript file.

If you would like to make changes to your financial disclosure, please include your updated statement in your cover letter.

To enhance the reproducibility of your results, we recommend that if applicable you deposit your laboratory protocols in protocols.io, where a protocol can be assigned its own identifier (DOI) such that it can be cited independently in the future. For instructions see: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/s/submission-guidelines#loc-laboratory-protocols

Please include the following items when submitting your revised manuscript:

  • A rebuttal letter that responds to each point raised by the academic editor and reviewer(s). This letter should be uploaded as separate file and labeled 'Response to Reviewers'.
  • A marked-up copy of your manuscript that highlights changes made to the original version. This file should be uploaded as separate file and labeled 'Revised Manuscript with Track Changes'.
  • An unmarked version of your revised paper without tracked changes. This file should be uploaded as separate file and labeled 'Manuscript'.

Please note while forming your response, if your article is accepted, you may have the opportunity to make the peer review history publicly available. The record will include editor decision letters (with reviews) and your responses to reviewer comments. If eligible, we will contact you to opt in or out.

We look forward to receiving your revised manuscript.

Kind regards,

Angelo Brandelli Costa

Academic Editor

PLOS ONE

Journal Requirements:

When submitting your revision, we need you to address these additional requirements.

1. Please ensure that your manuscript meets PLOS ONE's style requirements, including those for file naming. The PLOS ONE style templates can be found at https://journals.plos.org/plosone/s/file?id=wjVg/PLOSOne_formatting_sample_main_body.pdf and https://journals.plos.org/plosone/s/file?id=ba62/PLOSOne_formatting_sample_title_authors_affiliations.pdf

2. In your Data Availability statement, you have not specified where the minimal data set underlying the results described in your manuscript can be found. PLOS defines a study's minimal data set as the underlying data used to reach the conclusions drawn in the manuscript and any additional data required to replicate the reported study findings in their entirety. All PLOS journals require that the minimal data set be made fully available. For more information about our data policy, please see http://journals.plos.org/plosone/s/data-availability.

Upon re-submitting your revised manuscript, please upload your study’s minimal underlying data set as either Supporting Information files or to a stable, public repository and include the relevant URLs, DOIs, or accession numbers within your revised cover letter. For a list of acceptable repositories, please see http://journals.plos.org/plosone/s/data-availability#loc-recommended-repositories. Any potentially identifying patient information must be fully anonymized.

Important: If there are ethical or legal restrictions to sharing your data publicly, please explain these restrictions in detail. Please see our guidelines for more information on what we consider unacceptable restrictions to publicly sharing data: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/s/data-availability#loc-unacceptable-data-access-restrictions. Note that it is not acceptable for the authors to be the sole named individuals responsible for ensuring data access.

We will update your Data Availability statement to reflect the information you provide in your cover letter.

Additional Editor Comments (if provided):

[Note: HTML markup is below. Please do not edit.]

Reviewers' comments:

Reviewer's Responses to Questions

Comments to the Author

1. Is the manuscript technically sound, and do the data support the conclusions?

The manuscript must describe a technically sound piece of scientific research with data that supports the conclusions. Experiments must have been conducted rigorously, with appropriate controls, replication, and sample sizes. The conclusions must be drawn appropriately based on the data presented.

Reviewer #1: Yes

Reviewer #2: Yes

Reviewer #3: Partly

**********

2. Has the statistical analysis been performed appropriately and rigorously?

Reviewer #1: N/A

Reviewer #2: Yes

Reviewer #3: Yes

**********

3. Have the authors made all data underlying the findings in their manuscript fully available?

The PLOS Data policy requires authors to make all data underlying the findings described in their manuscript fully available without restriction, with rare exception (please refer to the Data Availability Statement in the manuscript PDF file). The data should be provided as part of the manuscript or its supporting information, or deposited to a public repository. For example, in addition to summary statistics, the data points behind means, medians and variance measures should be available. If there are restrictions on publicly sharing data—e.g. participant privacy or use of data from a third party—those must be specified.

Reviewer #1: Yes

Reviewer #2: Yes

Reviewer #3: Yes

**********

4. Is the manuscript presented in an intelligible fashion and written in standard English?

PLOS ONE does not copyedit accepted manuscripts, so the language in submitted articles must be clear, correct, and unambiguous. Any typographical or grammatical errors should be corrected at revision, so please note any specific errors here.

Reviewer #1: Yes

Reviewer #2: Yes

Reviewer #3: Yes

**********

5. Review Comments to the Author

Please use the space provided to explain your answers to the questions above. You may also include additional comments for the author, including concerns about dual publication, research ethics, or publication ethics. (Please upload your review as an attachment if it exceeds 20,000 characters)

Reviewer #1: In this paper the authors discuss the impact of COVID-19 spreading on social groups, focusing on those who are heterogeneous in terms of social interactions (people with few and people who have more social relations and interactions). To this end, they proposed a suscetible-infected-suscetible SIS model, considering features such as transmission and recovery rates of a disease and the contact numbes of individuals.

As conclusion, the authors argue that when a disease spreads in a population with heterogeneous levels of social meetings, if the individuals who meet many people dont fully respect isolation policies, such policies can be ineffective or damaging.

The study is interesting and could help governments and health authorities to propose more efficient social isolation policies. I agree that if not everyone does their part by maintaining social isolation as long as possible, the desease may remain active for more time. However, when considering the pandemic caused by Corona virus, even if not all people reduce social interactions to the minimum possible, that still may contributes to reducing the number of patients simultaneously infected, preventing collapses in health systems.

While the study appears to be sound, I miss some validation of the model. Would it be possible to include in the article some data related to the spread of COVID-19 observed in some countries, such as the contagion rate, in contrast to the different rates of social isolation in each of them? That would be nice and could corroborate the conlusion of the study.

The authors mentioned some related work (references 6-8). I suggest including a brief description of the related work. Even though the authors claim that the proposed model is different and consider other features, that description could

I also suggest, if possible, to compare the proposed model with the others, allowing to assess the impact of heterogeneous quarantine, once that feature was not considered in the related.

Reviewer #2: "This article is on a feature that must be highly considered in the context of pandemic COVID-19/SARS-COV2, which regards social/physical distancing/isolation to slow the spread of the infection, avoid the colapse of health systems and buy some time for researchers come up with specific, effective treatment and/or vaccine. Since there is evidence toward distancing/isolation to slow the spread of a highly contagious disease, it seems this article boosts the recommendation of such measure and provides endorsing mathematical and simulation models. There is ongoing discussion, though, on the mental health consequences of distancing/isolation which is inevitable and should also be considered, and that health care systems/policies and providers should prepare to minimize its impact on the population, as discussed in JAMA (doi 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.1057 and 10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.1562) and NEJM (doi 10.1056/NEJMp2008017)."

Reviewer #3: The manuscript provides an innovative approach using a susceptible-infected-susceptible (SIS) model to advocate a "proportional reduction" on social contacts in order to contain new SARS-Cov-2 new infections on populations. The authors proposed a parsimonious SIS models to sustain that when a disease spreads in a given population with heterogeneous intensity of meetings, policies advocating homogeneous social contacts may be ineffective and even deleterious.

The manuscript contains some colloquial expressions and statements such as: "In a nutshell, unless one gets everyone to act, and specifically those who have more contacts, a policy may even be counterproductive". The conclusions of the paper seems a little vague: "The specific focus of our approach is to distinguish people by their degree of socialization, and remark that if not everybody reduces drastically and proportionally their social contacts, then such measures could have an effect opposite to the one expected."

The authors state that previous published works have focused on models in a context of quarantine bud did not consider the "possible negative effects" caused by the heterogeneity of the quarantine, bud provide few empirical data to sustain such a statement.

There's no limitation section on the manuscript describing the potential limitations and pitfalls of the provided model. The appendix provide the mathematical notation of the model and its applications but again, providing no empirical data. Although one can argue in defense of such a statistical note, it is worth considering that this approach may not be exactly of interest to the Plos One's audience.

**********

6. PLOS authors have the option to publish the peer review history of their article (what does this mean?). If published, this will include your full peer review and any attached files.

If you choose “no”, your identity will remain anonymous but your review may still be made public.

Do you want your identity to be public for this peer review? For information about this choice, including consent withdrawal, please see our Privacy Policy.

Reviewer #1: No

Reviewer #2: No

Reviewer #3: No

[NOTE: If reviewer comments were submitted as an attachment file, they will be attached to this email and accessible via the submission site. Please log into your account, locate the manuscript record, and check for the action link "View Attachments". If this link does not appear, there are no attachment files to be viewed.]

While revising your submission, please upload your figure files to the Preflight Analysis and Conversion Engine (PACE) digital diagnostic tool, https://pacev2.apexcovantage.com/. PACE helps ensure that figures meet PLOS requirements. To use PACE, you must first register as a user. Registration is free. Then, login and navigate to the UPLOAD tab, where you will find detailed instructions on how to use the tool. If you encounter any issues or have any questions when using PACE, please email us at figures@plos.org. Please note that Supporting Information files do not need this step.

Revision 1

We have added a pdf with detailed responses to the three reviewers.

Attachments
Attachment
Submitted filename: reply_referees.pdf
Decision Letter - Angelo Brandelli Costa, Editor

Covid19:

unless one gets everyone to act, policies may be ineffective or even backfire

PONE-D-20-09143R1

Dear Dr. Pin,

We’re pleased to inform you that your manuscript has been judged scientifically suitable for publication and will be formally accepted for publication once it meets all outstanding technical requirements.

Within one week, you’ll receive an e-mail detailing the required amendments. When these have been addressed, you’ll receive a formal acceptance letter and your manuscript will be scheduled for publication.

An invoice for payment will follow shortly after the formal acceptance. To ensure an efficient process, please log into Editorial Manager at http://www.editorialmanager.com/pone/, click the 'Update My Information' link at the top of the page, and double check that your user information is up-to-date. If you have any billing related questions, please contact our Author Billing department directly at authorbilling@plos.org.

If your institution or institutions have a press office, please notify them about your upcoming paper to help maximize its impact. If they’ll be preparing press materials, please inform our press team as soon as possible -- no later than 48 hours after receiving the formal acceptance. Your manuscript will remain under strict press embargo until 2 pm Eastern Time on the date of publication. For more information, please contact onepress@plos.org.

Kind regards,

Angelo Brandelli Costa

Academic Editor

PLOS ONE

Additional Editor Comments (optional):

Reviewers' comments:

Reviewer's Responses to Questions

Comments to the Author

1. If the authors have adequately addressed your comments raised in a previous round of review and you feel that this manuscript is now acceptable for publication, you may indicate that here to bypass the “Comments to the Author” section, enter your conflict of interest statement in the “Confidential to Editor” section, and submit your "Accept" recommendation.

Reviewer #1: All comments have been addressed

Reviewer #3: All comments have been addressed

**********

2. Is the manuscript technically sound, and do the data support the conclusions?

The manuscript must describe a technically sound piece of scientific research with data that supports the conclusions. Experiments must have been conducted rigorously, with appropriate controls, replication, and sample sizes. The conclusions must be drawn appropriately based on the data presented.

Reviewer #1: Yes

Reviewer #3: Yes

**********

3. Has the statistical analysis been performed appropriately and rigorously?

Reviewer #1: Yes

Reviewer #3: Yes

**********

4. Have the authors made all data underlying the findings in their manuscript fully available?

The PLOS Data policy requires authors to make all data underlying the findings described in their manuscript fully available without restriction, with rare exception (please refer to the Data Availability Statement in the manuscript PDF file). The data should be provided as part of the manuscript or its supporting information, or deposited to a public repository. For example, in addition to summary statistics, the data points behind means, medians and variance measures should be available. If there are restrictions on publicly sharing data—e.g. participant privacy or use of data from a third party—those must be specified.

Reviewer #1: Yes

Reviewer #3: Yes

**********

5. Is the manuscript presented in an intelligible fashion and written in standard English?

PLOS ONE does not copyedit accepted manuscripts, so the language in submitted articles must be clear, correct, and unambiguous. Any typographical or grammatical errors should be corrected at revision, so please note any specific errors here.

Reviewer #1: Yes

Reviewer #3: Yes

**********

6. Review Comments to the Author

Please use the space provided to explain your answers to the questions above. You may also include additional comments for the author, including concerns about dual publication, research ethics, or publication ethics. (Please upload your review as an attachment if it exceeds 20,000 characters)

Reviewer #1: The suggested changes were duly addressed in the new version of the paper. The improvements to the text have made it more understandable.

Reviewer #3: The points identified by me during the first review were answered by the authors. The Empirical Motivation's session got a substantial admendment.

**********

7. PLOS authors have the option to publish the peer review history of their article (what does this mean?). If published, this will include your full peer review and any attached files.

If you choose “no”, your identity will remain anonymous but your review may still be made public.

Do you want your identity to be public for this peer review? For information about this choice, including consent withdrawal, please see our Privacy Policy.

Reviewer #1: No

Reviewer #3: No

Formally Accepted
Acceptance Letter - Angelo Brandelli Costa, Editor

PONE-D-20-09143R1

Covid19: unless one gets everyone to act, policies may be ineffective or even backfire

Dear Dr. Pin:

I'm pleased to inform you that your manuscript has been deemed suitable for publication in PLOS ONE. Congratulations! Your manuscript is now with our production department.

If your institution or institutions have a press office, please let them know about your upcoming paper now to help maximize its impact. If they'll be preparing press materials, please inform our press team within the next 48 hours. Your manuscript will remain under strict press embargo until 2 pm Eastern Time on the date of publication. For more information please contact onepress@plos.org.

If we can help with anything else, please email us at plosone@plos.org.

Thank you for submitting your work to PLOS ONE and supporting open access.

Kind regards,

PLOS ONE Editorial Office Staff

on behalf of

Dr. Angelo Brandelli Costa

Academic Editor

PLOS ONE

Open letter on the publication of peer review reports

PLOS recognizes the benefits of transparency in the peer review process. Therefore, we enable the publication of all of the content of peer review and author responses alongside final, published articles. Reviewers remain anonymous, unless they choose to reveal their names.

We encourage other journals to join us in this initiative. We hope that our action inspires the community, including researchers, research funders, and research institutions, to recognize the benefits of published peer review reports for all parts of the research system.

Learn more at ASAPbio .