The pandemic reminded us that the pathogen evolution still has a serious effect on human societies. States, however, can prepare themselves for the emergence of a novel pathogen with unknown characteristics by analysing potential scenarios. Game theory offers such an appropriate tool. In our game-theoretical framework, the state is playing against a pathogen by introducing non-pharmaceutical interventions to fulfil its socio-political goals, such as guaranteeing hospital care to all needed patients, keeping the country functioning, while the applied social restrictions should be as soft as possible. With the inclusion of activity and economic sector dependent transmission rate, optimal control of lockdowns and health care capacity management is calculated. We identify the presence and length of a pre-symptomatic infectious stage of the disease to have the greatest effect on the probability to cause a pandemic. Here we show that contrary to intuition, the state should not strive for the great expansion of its health care capacities even if its goal is to provide care for all requiring it and minimize the cost of lockdowns.
József Garay, Ádám Kun, Zoltán Varga, Manuel Gámez, Ana Belén Castaño-Fernández & Tamás F. Móri: State-controlled epidemic in a game against a novel pathogen. Scientific Reports, volume 12, Article number: 15716 (2022)