COVID-19: Mathematical models in the face of uncertainty

A study recently released by Imperial College London has been heavily reported in the media; the authors estimate that in the absence of mitigation, COVID-19 could claim the lives of 510,000 people in Great Britain and 2.2 million people in the United States by the end of August.1 A collaborative study overseen by Columbia University…

Modeling the Spread of Infectious Disease: The SIR and MSEIR compartment models

Until the twentieth century, infectious diseases had been the proximate cause of almost all human illness and death. The mid-1900s saw the advent of widespread vaccination and use of antibiotics to combat the once intractable causative agents of these pathologies; viruses and bacteria. Major achievements of vaccination against globally endemic viral infections include the eradication…