2020 models have been so bad at times as to be amusing. This looks like progress though:
A new class of epidemiological models based on alternative thinking about how contagions propagate, particularly in the early phases of a pandemic, provide a blueprint for more accurate epidemic modeling and improved disease spread predictions and responses, according to a study published recently in Scientific Reports by researchers at the University of California, Irvine and other institutions.
In the paper, the scientists said that standard epidemic models incorrectly assume that the rate in which an infectious disease spreads depends on a simple product of the number of infected and susceptible people. The authors instead suggest that transmission happens not through complete mingling of entire populations but at the boundary of sub-groups of infected individuals.
Seems obvious but what do I know? Disclosure – my undergrad degree in computer science is from UC, Irvine.
In the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic, better knowledge about propagation of infections could aid in decisions related to the institution of masking and social distancing mandates in communities.
“Accurate epidemiological models can help policy makers choose the right course of action to help prevent further spread of infectious diseases,” Georgiou said.
This may explain why – after 9 months of following public health guidance, the situation is worse than ever. We have an order of magnitude more cases than when we began a high compliance face mask mandate. It seems obvious that most mitigation measures have failed.
My best guess is that face masks have value only “at the margin”, and then only if used properly and in high exposure environments. Their preventative value is probably nil in low risk environments with minimal or fleeting contacts (as in a retail store). Plus, several contract tracing reports imply the majority of Covid cases come from close family and social contacts. Yet no one wears a face mask inside their own home.
What ever it is, from the chart above it is obvious that face masks have failed. Indeed. CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said in July that if people wore face masks this pandemic would be over with in weeks. We’ve done the experiment and the data shows it didn’t succeed.