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USciences Professor Michael Robert Discusses Projection Models Amidst COVID-19

By Nicole Carrera

Published on May 7, 2020

Michael Robert PhD, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, is featured on KYW Newsradio’s In Depth: Coronavirus Podcast to discuss projection models in relation to COVID-19. Specifically, what projection models are, how they’re used, and how they can be beneficial in discussions about reopening areas of the United States. 

Dr. Robert explains the two different types of projection models that are commonly used: mathematical models and statistical models. Both types of models are built on basic framework and complexities can be added, he said. In the case of COVID-19, the framework is the virus, and complexities include those who test positive but are asymptomatic. 

KYW’s Matt Leon hosts the podcast, and asked Dr. Robert about using projection models to determine when the U.S. may be able to reopen businesses. Dr. Robert shares that some models suggest that business may be able to reopen shortly, but emphasizes that it will take 2-3 weeks after relaxing social distancing measures for data to be available and reevaluations to be made. 

Finally Dr. Robert explains that models, while very valuable in many situations, can be dangerous if not interpreted or understood properly. Throughout the interview he urges people to recognize the fluidity of data during an infectious disease situation and, therefore, projection models. 

“We won’t really know what could happen and what is really happening until after it’s over.” Dr. Robert concludes. “We can hypothesize many different scenarios, but the only thing we’re going to know in the end is what has happened."

Categories: News, Misher College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Mathematics Physics and Statistics, Mathematics, Faculty, Coronavirus,