With different countries, and different levels of government grappling with whether or not to publicly release their mathematical models and projections on the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked Professor Chris Bauch, an expert in mathematical and computer modelling of infectious disease outbreaks, to explain the basics to us.
What is a disease model/projection and how are they created?
A disease model is a way of using mathematical equations or computer simulations to predict how many cases we can expect in the coming weeks or months. They are created by writing down equations that represent the best current knowledge of how the disease spreads, the demographics and movement patterns of the host populations, the course of the infection in individuals, and how interventions like physical distancing reduce infection. The equations are then solved to figure out how many cases we can expect in the future, under different scenarios for government actions, availability of health technologies, public reaction and many other variables.
Learn more about modelling in the full Q&A.