An agent-based simulation of coronavirus diffusion

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the world, governments are taking measures to slow down the spread of the contagion among the population. In fact, while there is no way the virus can be stopped altogether, it is crucial to slow down its diffusion in order no to overload hospitals and intensive care units.

Journalists of the Washington post have created an agent based simulation  in order to explain the importance of social containment measures in which agents, represented as moving dots, move into space getting infected, transmitting the disease and recovering. The four different simulation scenarios  — a free-for-all, an attempted quarantine, moderate social distancing and extensive social distancing — show that when restrictions to the movement are implemented the contagion curve clearly flattens out, while if the agents are left unrestrained the curve of infected people grows exponentially.

This timely piece of data journalism shows the importance of social distancing during this unprecedented global pandemic and interest and the potential of agent-based models to illustrate social dynamics in space.


Leave a Reply