PNAS – Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
The challenges of modeling and forecasting the spread of COVID-19
Andrea L. Bertozzi, Elisa Franco, George Mohler, Martin B. Short, and Daniel Sledge
PNAS first published July 2, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2006520117
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has placed epidemic modeling at the forefront of worldwide public policy making. Nonetheless, modeling and forecasting the spread of COVID-19 remain a challenge. Here, we present and detail three regional-scale models for forecasting and assessing the course of the pandemic. This work is intended to demonstrate the utility of parsimonious models for understanding the pandemic and to provide an accessible framework for generating policy-relevant insights into its course. We show how these models can be connected to each other and to time series data for a particular region. Capable of measuring and forecasting the impacts of social distancing, these models highlight the dangers of relaxing nonpharmaceutical public health interventions in the absence of a vaccine or antiviral therapies.