Kevin Simler: Outbreak

by habryka1 min read16th Mar 20201 comment



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.