Using mathematical modeling to track and mitigate the spread of Covid-19
With the goal of using modeling to track and mitigate Covid-19 spread, the Weitz Group began several projects in January of 2020, including:
- Assessing the role of asymptomatic transmission
- Characterizing how viral and serological testing can be used as mitigation
- Establishing new principles by which variation in susceptibility changes the nature of epidemic trajectories
- Analyzing the impacts of behavior on pandemic spread
Our Covid-19 Work
Using mathematical modeling to combat Covid-19.
We utilize nonlinear dynamic models, spanning mean field, individual-based, metapopulation, and structured populations to assess the potential spread and control of Covid-19 in the absence of pharmaceutical interventions. The result of the team’s Covid-19 modeling work includes papers published in 2020 in Nature Medicine, Nature Human Behaviour, PNAS, and Epidemics, joint author papers in the J. Roy Soc. Interface and PNAS, and multiple papers in review/revision.
- Modeling serological testing to inform relaxation of social distancing for COVID-19 control
- Spread of COVID-19 through Georgia, USA. Near-term projections and impacts of social distancing via a metapopulation model
- Awareness-driven Behavior Changes Can Shift the Shape of Epidemics Away from Peaks and Towards Plateaus, Shoulders, and Oscillations
How risky is your next gathering?
In collaboration with Schools of Interactive Computing and City & Regional Planning professor Clio Andris, the Weitz group developed a tool that enables individuals to assess the real-time risk of attending events in different counties throughout the United States. The interactive website shows the probability that one (or more) SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals are present at an event—and helps users assess whether this risk is worth taking.
Since its launch in July 2020, the website has helped more than 7M visitors make more than 40M estimates of Covid-19 associated risk of exposure, and has been featured in media outlets across the world.
Mitigating transmission of Covid-19 through interaction substitution.
In our 2020 Nature Medicine paper, we led efforts to develop an epidemiological intervention model that leverages serological tests to identify and deploy recovered individuals who have developed protective antibodies to Covid-19. The objective of this intervention is to develop sufficient ‘shield immunity’ at the population scale to reduce epidemic intensity. Shield immunity works by increasing interactions with recovered individuals relative to individuals of unknown or susceptible status. This dashboard serves as an interactive tool to explore the effects of using shield immunity as an intervention to control the spread of Covid-19.
Ensuring our science makes it out of the lab.
The Weitz Group has made a substantial effort to communicate our science to local and national audiences, through podcasts, radio programs, forums, Op-Eds, and scientific presentations.
Members of the Weitz Group have prioritized outreach by creating interactive tools, such as a dashboard that assesses the state of Covid-19 in the state of Georgia. Members have also prioritized communicating our science, such as our shield immunity work, to government agencies such as the CDC to promote the use of the latest science in the response to Covid-19.
Prof. Weitz describes the Covid-19 risk assessment tool in an interview with BBC.
Working to keep the Georgia Tech community safe.
In collaboration with School of Biological Sciences professor Greg Gibson and a team of faculty, staff, and Institute leadership, Prof. Weitz helped design, advise, and inform Georgia Tech’s large-scale initiative that has been in operation from August 2020. This initiative has contributed to low incidence rates of Covid-19 on Georgia Tech’s campus.