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In Depth Out Loud podcast: how to model a pandemic

How do mathematical models of disease work? Jacob King/PA Wire

In this episode of The Conversation’s In Depth Out Loud podcast, Christian Yates, senior lecturer in mathematical biology at the University of Bath, looks at how to model a pandemic.


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With basic mathematical models, researchers can begin to forecast the progression of diseases and understand the effect of interventions on the way diseases spread. With more complex models, we can start to answer questions about how to efficiently allocate limited resources or tease out the consequences of public health interventions, like closing pubs and banning gatherings.

Insights from mathematical modelling are vital to ensure that authorities can prevent as many deaths as possible. As the COVID-19 pandemic escalates, here’s a look inside the modelling that experts use to try and stay one step ahead of the virus.

You can read the text version of this in depth article here. The audio version is read by Holly Squire and edited by Gemma Ware.

This story came out of a project at The Conversation called Insights. Sponsored by Research England, our Insights team generate in depth articles derived from interdisciplinary research. You can read their stories here, or subscribe to In Depth Out Loud to listen to more of their articles in the coming months.

The music in In Depth Out Loud is Night Caves, by Lee Rosevere.

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