God damn it.
This is true, mostly. It’s the University of Illinois, and it was a physicist and a bioengineering professor (who had also done some ecological modeling) who came up with the model.
Physicist Nigel Goldenfeld and bioengineering Professor Sergei Maslov, who developed models of the disease for the state and campus, said they think cases can be kept to a level that can be traced and won’t overwhelm the hospital system.
They also used a grossly simplified model of human interactions, which they claim was a “worst-case scenario”. It wasn’t.
“We did not model the friendship social networks of the students when they go outside and socialize in bars and restaurants,” he said. “So our calculation is, in fact, a worst-case scenario, because we assume more mixing outside of the university.”
For them, transitioning to epidemiology was easy. “The equations that describe epidemics are simplified versions of ones that describe ecology,” says Goldenfeld. For the COVID-19 model, they chose equations that echoed models of predator and prey.
So…epidemiology is easy, they just had to strip out a lot of complicating factors, and then adapt a general ecology model that isn’t actually appropriate here. In other words, they imagined a spherical frictionless undergraduate, made a model that they liked, and then — JESUS FUCKING CHRIST — got the ear of the governor of Illinois and set the policy for whole state.
Parties, gatherings and “irresponsible and dangerous” behavior has led to a spike of nearly 800 coronavirus cases on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus, school officials said, and the university is cracking down.
On Wednesday, the university announced 780 new coronavirus cases on the campus, the Chicago Tribune reported. The campus is now implementing mandatory testing twice a week for all students.
You know, you could have listened to epidemiologists, who actually have some specific expertise in this sort of thing.