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Chances are, if you are listening to this around the time it was released, you’re listening alone. Right now the human species is conducting one of the most sweeping synchronized experiments of all time: physical isolation, restricted travel, shuttered businesses, our social lives moved online. Many people wonder whether all of this is truly necessary to halt the spread of COVID-19—or do not understand what differences there are between closed borders and closed schools and businesses, how epidemiologists derive the interventions they advise, and why it matters that we all stay home right now.
This week’s guest is Laurent Hébert-Dufresne, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at The University of Vermont’s Complex Systems Center, former SFI James S. McDonnell Foundation Postdoc and Research Fellow, and Editor of PLOS Complexity Channel. In this episode we discuss how network epidemiology studies contagions as they unfold across multiple scales, how co-infections (both biological and informational) change disease transmissibility, and how the best available research supports drastic containment measures.
Note that this episode was recorded on March 17th and we’d like to issue a blanket disclaimer that our understanding of the novel coronavirus pandemic evolves by the hour. We believe this information to be up to date at the time of publication but the findings discussed in this episode could soon be refined by more research.
Due to the pace at which the news is changing, we’ll ignore our normal schedule for the next few weeks and publish new episodes as quickly as we can. Please take a moment to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts, and feel free to suggest questions for upcoming guests on Twitter or in our Facebook group.
Read the papers we discuss in this episode at Laurent’s Google Scholar Page.
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Podcast Theme Music by Mitch Mignano.