Gas station without pumps

2020 April 3

Difficulty of making a useful model

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 13:21
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Five-Thirty-Eight has a nice discussion of the difficulty of getting good enough data to make a reasonable model for the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic:

They do not go into the mathematics of the models, just the difficulty of figuring out what to include and how really bad our data is for fitting the parameters of the model.

What we are interested in from models is the peak number of serious cases (to determine how many intensive-care beds and ventilators we will need, for example), the eventual number of deaths, and how long the movement restrictions are needed to keep the number of cases from overwhelming the system.  Unfortunately, because the early stages of the data are well fit by simple exponentials, we have a really hard time fitting any of parameters that determine when the exponential growth slows down and switches over to logistic growth.

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