Picture thousands of undergraduate students unpacking their bags at an isolated Brown University campus free from outside contact amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In this simplified scenario, a certain number of these students are carrying stowaway SARS-CoV-2 particles. Others have yet to be exposed to the virus and have not developed immune protection against it.
Assume that each student breaks the six-foot barrier between them and others at a specified interval as they go about their days, that they continue to pass on the virus for a period of time and that each person’s recovery spans a set period, after which they cannot get COVID-19 again.
By assigning each of these variables a predicted value, researchers can incorporate them into a model to estimate the rise and fall of COVID-19 — the familiar “curve” — for this hypothetical Brown University.
While this situation is not exactly representative of the epidemiological models