By James Kwak
It seems that social distancing is the primary technique for slowing the propagation rate of COVID-19. That and extensive screening are the key tools for including an outbreak, for reasons discussed repeatedly in the media.
Picture by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay
Or, more to the point, how well do different degrees of social distancing work? How rigorous does it need to be, and how tightly does it need to be imposed?
Thanks to ubiquitous industrial and government surveillance, there are terribly thorough databases of exactly where people are at perpetuity. Google has one. Picture for yourself a huge aerial photo of some city with a dot for every persons location; then photo those dots moving around as time passes. Thats more or less what is readily available. (Some individuals are obstructing their location data, and some individuals dont have personal security gadgets wise phones. There are certainly adequate individuals transferring their place to do the analysis talked about listed below.).
Preferably we d desire to count the number of people that each person comes within one meter of for each day, then average that number throughout the whole population. We essentially need to fall back the percentage day-to-day modification in the number of COVID-19 cases versus the social range variable, with some sort of lag to account for the reality that cases dont appear for several days. Given the number of locations where there have been outbreaks, we must be able to get some concept of how low the social distance variable has to be in order to flatten out the rate of brand-new infections.
OK, thats the easy part. Now back to that can opener. The issue is that main case counts depend on 3 major elements: (a) the underlying rate of infection in the population (what we appreciate); (b) the number of tests being done; and (c) the choice criteria for those tests. You get extremely various results if you only test sick people in the medical facility rather than testing a random sample, even if you do the very same variety of tests. The harder concern is figuring out how the main case count relates to the underlying rate of infection.
Still, though, this is conceptually simply a multivariate regression. On the right (independent variable) side, in addition to the social distance variable, you need a variable for the number of tests, and you need a set of dummy variables for the different testing methods that different places have actually utilized (i.e., one for the American test-only-the-sick-and-the-rich-and-famous method, one for the Korean test-everyone-within-range-of-the-outbreak method, and so on). You can most likely think about other things you must control for, like the weather (readily available). Again, given the number of outbreaks that have actually happened all over the world, there is a good opportunity that there is sufficient variation to actually get results.
One is that once individuals are attempting to carry out social distancing, not only will they avoid distance with other people (which is noticeable by GPS), but they will likewise behave differently when they are in proximity with others (not noticeable by GPS). You may be able to get rid of that using variation within a single culture (e.g., the United States, where there is plenty of variation in how individuals in different parts of the country are acting).
I havent the analytical or data management skills to do this myself. And perhaps even if its done right the margins of error are too huge to be useful. If no one is doing it currently, it appears worth attempting.
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(Some individuals are obstructing their location data, and some individuals do not have personal monitoring gadgets wise phones. Ideally we d want to count the number of individuals that each person comes within one meter of for each day, then average that number throughout the whole population. You get really various outcomes if you just test ill individuals in the healthcare facility as opposed to checking a random sample, even if you do the very same number of tests. One is that once people are trying to implement social distancing, not just will they avoid distance with other individuals (which is visible by GPS), however they will also act in a different way when they are in proximity with others (not visible by GPS). You might be able to get rid of that using variation within a single culture (e.g., the United States, where there is plenty of variation in how individuals in different parts of the nation are acting).