If you like mathematics and statistics, the daily reports on COVID-19 and the generous supply of predictions, whether or not by experts, offers considerable food for thought. But even those who think of mathematics and statistics as very abstract disciplines, and who prefer to keep such disciplines at arm’s length, are actually in the middle of it. Each number corresponds to a son, a daughter, a partner, a granddad, a grandma, an aunt, a neighbor, a best friend,… who is infected by COVID-19 or recovered from it. In reverse, our behavior directly links to just how much chance the virus is given to spread among the population. All of us drive the figures! Our team provides the much-needed expertise around these figures.
As Covid-19 mathematical and statistical Modelling team (epidemiologists, statisticians, biologists, virologists, mathematicians, computer scientists,...) we try to predict the course of the virus and the way the course will change by taking measures or adept them. Based on the insights in different models, we advise policymakers, so they can decide on the measures that are necessary to contain or flatten the epidemic.
The outcome of our models always involves a degree of uncertainty, given the fact that the figures are not always measured precisely or not all data are available. The more unknown data or parameters, the larger the uncertainty and the more difficult it is to predict further into the future. Also, some models are more adept at predicting evolutions on a national level, others can give insights on a smaller scale. This means that every model is a piece of the puzzle. It requires a lot of experience in infectious diseases modeling to put all the pieces together.