A Model for Optimizing the Health and Economic Impacts of Covid-19 under Social Distancing Measures; A Study for the Number of Passengers and their Seating Arrangements in Aircrafts
Covid-19 has had a disastrous economic impact on countries and industries as countries have gone through the lockdown process to reduce the health impact of Covid-19. As countries have started lifting Covid-19 related restrictions, businesses have been allowed to again have on-site customers. However, just a limited number of people are being allowed on-site as long as social distancing measures are being followed. This has resulted in heavy burdens on businesses as their number of customers have decreased substantially. In this study, we propose a model to minimize the economic impact of Covid-19 for businesses that have implemented social distancing measures, as well as to minimize the health impact of Covid-19 for their customers and employees. We introduce the quantity Spread in which minimizing Spread gives the optimum number and arrangement of people at a given site while applying social distancing measures. We apply our model to a real-world scenario and optimize the number of passengers and their arrangements under a social distancing measure for two different popular aircraft seat layouts using the Annealing Monte Carlo technique. We obtain the optimal numbers and optimal arrangements of passengers considering both family groups and individual passengers for the social distancing measure. The obtained optimal arrangements of passengers show complex patterns with groups and individual passengers mixed in complex and non-trivial ways. This demonstrates the necessity of using our model or its variants to find these optimal arrangements. In addition, we show that any other arrangements of passengers with the same number of passengers is a suboptimal arrangement with higher health risks as a result of less distance between passengers. Our model could be implemented for other social situations such as sports events, theaters, medical centers, etc.