Disease Detectives: Using Mathematics to Forecast the Spread of Infectious Diseases

30 Jun 2020  ·  Heather Z. Brooks, Unchitta Kanjanasaratool, Yacoub H. Kureh, Mason A. Porter ·

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant changes in how people are currently living their lives. To determine how to best reduce the effects of the pandemic and start reopening societies, governments have drawn insights from mathematical models of the spread of infectious diseases. In this article, we give an introduction to a family of mathematical models (called "compartmental models") and discuss how the results of analyzing these models influence government policies and human behavior, such as encouraging mask wearing and physical distancing to help slow the spread of the disease.

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