The statistical challenges of modelling COVID-19

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Pub. Date
01 October, 2021

In 2020–2021, the world has been gripped by a pandemic that no living person has ever known. The coronavirus pandemic is undoubtedly the greatest challenge the world has faced in over a generation. The imperative of statistical modelling is not only to manage the short-run crisis for the health services, but also to explain the pandemic’s course and establish the effectiveness of different policies, both non-pharmaceutical and with vaccines. This difficult task has been undertaken by the epidemiologists and others in the face of measurement data problems, behavioural complications and endogeneity issues. This paper proposes a simple taxonomy of the alternative different models and suggests how they may be used together to overcome limitations. This perspective may have important implications for how policy-makers cope with future waves or strains in the current pandemic, or future pandemics.