Kevin Simler released another blogpost, this time on disease spread modeling. Excerpt: 

Harry Stevens at The Washington Post recently published a very elegant simulation of how a disease like COVID-19 spreads. If you haven't already, I highly recommend checking it out.

Today I want to follow up with something I've been working on: playable simulations of a disease outbreak. "Playable" means you'll get to tweak parameters (like transmission and mortality rates) and watch how the epidemic unfolds.

By the end of this article, I hope you'll have a better understanding — perhaps better intuition — for what it takes to contain this thing. But first!...


This is not an attempt to model COVID-19.

What follows is a simplified model of a disease process. The goal is to learn how epidemics unfold in general.

WARNING #2: I'm not an epidemiologist! I defer to infectious disease experts (and so should you). I have almost certainly made mistakes in this article, but I'll correct them as quickly as I can. If you see any problems, please get in touch.


Let's do this.

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1 comment, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 8:16 AM

Interesting. Hopefully someone here has some experience but seems to show interesting results as one plays with the parameters.

One thing I notices was it was not just the transmission rate the influenced an major outbreak of just some pockets of infections.

The other interesting observation was the fundamental randomness of the outcomes. In some cases I would see a small isolated pocket. Run it again, it might cover about 40 percent of the population.