The Ontario government contributed $148,000 for Chris Bauch’s research project, “How to Re-open Ontario's Economy Without Causing a Resurgence of COVID-19”. Bauch and his team will combine data from various sources to create a mathematical model of COVID-19 transmission to identify strategies to re-open the province without causing a second wave and--if necessary--how to re-close schools and workplaces in the face of a second wave while minimizing economic impacts.
The model will project cases, hospitalizations and deaths under different approaches to re-open the economy. The data will come from the province's COVID-19 notifications, local health units and available demographic and epidemiological data to inform the creation of detailed maps of COVID-19 rates by province.
“I was pleased to hear of the funding for Chris, but also to know that Chris’ work could help guide the province in re-opening plans,” said Siv Sivaloganathan, chair of the Department of Applied Mathematics. “Chris and his team have worked on similar mathematical models in the past for outbreaks like SARS, and so I have every confidence that their work will beneficially impact Ontario not only with respect to healthcare, but also in terms of rebuilding the economy of the province.”
By comparing different scenarios, such as re-opening the entire province at once instead of a region-by region approach, the model can project the number of cases of COVID-19. It could be used to provide other information such as prioritizing vaccinations once one becomes available, as well as what should be shut down if a second wave occurs.
Bauch and his co-investigator Madhur Anand at the University of Guelph have been working with Applied Mathematics postdoctoral fellows Mark Penney and Kathyrn Fair and PhD students Peter Jentsch and Brendon Phillips.
On July 17, the Ontario government announced the second round of research projects approved and supported through the $20 million Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund. Through these efforts, researchers will be working to find ways to prevent, detect and treat COVID-19.