It is expected that there will be a second wave of COVID-19 — and possibly more — that could be even more deadly than the current one. We should be better prepared, and modelling and simulation can be useful to predict the evolution of the disease, help reduce the spread of infection and inform public and private policies in terms of prevention. We still have time.
Herd immunity happens when 60 to 70 per cent of the population has been infected by a virus and become immune to it. If this proportion of the world population gets the disease, the consequences will be catastrophic, with millions of individuals dying.
Herd immunity can only happen in a safe and ethical way if a vaccine is discovered and a high proportion of the population is inoculated. Unless a vaccine is discovered, we can only deal with the pandemic through behaviour: physical distancing, the use of masks, cough and sneeze etiquette and extensive hand-washing.
We have seen physical (social) distance rules that go from simple recommendations to strict quarantines. But physical distancing has had economic and mental health consequences.
R0 is a theoretical number that is calculated using a combination of daily real-world data and simulation models that predict the spread of the pandemic. The Rt of a disease is dynamic and affected by external factors such as vaccination, isolation or the weather.
We are building indoor models using factors like different occupation density, gender, age, pre-symptomatic transmission and contact tracing. These models allow us to study different scenarios, various infection rates and environmental factors like pedestrian flow, room temperature and humidity.
Knowing that most infections occur indoors, modelling and simulation tools can help governments, companies, school boards and universities re-introduce strict lockdown measures or experiment with different options to reduce the probability of indoor contagion. So far, a small percentage of the population has been infected and until a vaccine is available, a second wave could be very dangerous.
Breath particles spread in a research lab, Carleton University.
Mixing simulation results with advanced visualization tools and contact tracing we can help decision makers to take the best possible course of action. We will need the right tools to dominate the second wave by making informed and comprehensive policy decisions.
GABRIEL A. WAINER, FSCS, SMIEEE, received the M.Sc. (1993) at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the Ph.D. (1998, with highest honors) at UBA/Université d’Aix-Marseille III, France. In July 2000 he joined the Department of Systems and Computer Engineering at Carleton University (Ottawa, ON, Canada), where he is now Full Professor. He has held visiting positions at the University of Arizona; LSIS (CNRS), Université Paul Cézanne, University of Nice, INRIA Sophia-Antipolis, Université de Bordeaux (France); UCM, UPC (Spain), University of Buenos Aires, National University of Rosario (Argentina) and others. He is the author of three books and over 400 research articles; he edited four other books, and helped organizing numerous conferences, including being one of the founders of the Symposium on Theory of Modeling and Simulation, SIMUTools and SimAUD. Prof. Wainer was Vice-President Conferences and Vice-President Publications and is a member of the Board of Directors of the SCS. Prof. Wainer is the Special Issues Editor of SIMULATION, member of the Editorial Board of IEEE Computing in Science and Engineering, Wireless Networks (Elsevier), Journal of Defense Modeling and Simulation (SCS). He is the head of the Advanced Real-Time Simulation lab, located at Carleton University's Centre for advanced Simulation and Visualization (V-Sim). He has been the recipient of various awards, including the IBM Eclipse Innovation Award, SCS Leadership Award, and various Best Paper awards. He has been awarded Carleton University's Research Achievement Award (2005, 2014), the First Bernard P. Zeigler DEVS Modeling and Simulation Award, the SCS Outstanding Professional Award (2011), Carleton University’s Mentorship Award (2013), the SCS Distinguished Professional Award (2013), SCS Distinguished Service Award (2015) and SCS Outstanding Service Award (2020). He is a Fellow of SCS.
About COVID-19 Resources Canada
Welcome to COVID-19 Resources Canada, an online national platform where we can join efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. To learn more about the mission and our team, visit our About us page