Several factors have played a strong role in influencing the dynamics of COVID-19 in the U.S. One being the economy, where a tug of war has existed between lockdown measures to control disease versus loosening of restrictions to address economic hardship. A more recent effect has been availability of vaccines and the mass vaccination efforts of 2021. In order to address the challenges in analyzing this complex process, we developed a competing risk compartmental model framework with and without vaccination compartment. This framework separates instantaneous risk of removal for an infectious case into competing risks of cure and death, and when vaccinations are present, the vaccinated individual can also achieve immunity before infection. Computations are performed using a simple discrete time algorithm that utilizes a data driven contact rate. Using population level pre-vaccination data, we are able to identify and characterize three wave patterns in the U.S. Estimated mortality rates for second and third waves are 1.7%, which is a notable decrease from 8.5% of a first wave observed at onset of disease. This analysis reveals the importance cure time has on infectious duration and disease transmission. Using vaccination data from 2021, we find a fourth wave, however the effect of this wave is suppressed due to vaccine effectiveness. Parameters playing a crucial role in this modeling were a lower cure time and a signficantly lower mortality rate for the vaccinated.
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