When it comes to assessing the risk of transmission of an infectious disease like COVID-19 and evaluating the effectiveness of measures like physical distancing, mathematics and mathematical modelling are crucial.
“How does the virus spread? How quickly does it multiply? What’s the impact of interventions like social distancing? Mathematical modelling looks at these kinds of questions,” says Vijaya Kumar Murty, a professor in the department of mathematics in the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Arts & Science.
To address such questions, mathematicians like Murty take into account numerous variables involved in the spread of a disease, including the age, occupation or pre-existing health conditions of an individual.