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This model is for educational purposes only. If you would like more information, contact us.

Quick Start

Here is the quick start guide for building your own Outbreak response. To learn more about the theory and the model check out the Introduction and the Paper links above.

To use this quick start guide most effectively, we recommend that you open the "run model" in a separate tab using the link in the upper left corner of this page. Go ahead and open it now.

The model allows you to select and apply specific response policies like Stay-at-Home, or Mandatory Quarantine to try to control the number of people that need hospitalization.

If you look at the display you will see a table with some controls. Each row represents a response policy that you can apply on a specific day. Each policy will stay in effect until you replace it with another policy.

When you click the "show results" button below the table you will get a graph of the results of applying that policy.

Do nothing

To get a baseline, run the model with no response at all, and see how many people are hospitalized, and when the peak occurs.
go to the model page, and just click "run simulation" You should see a peak in hospitalizations around day 44 with around 24,000 beds needed. As a heads up - the flay blue line is the number of available hospital beds - if the hospitalized curve goes over the top, you will have a big problem. Some estimates suggest that your rate of fatalities will increase 10 fold for the people who can't get a needed hospital bed!

Types of Policies

There are two categories of policies - Social distancing and Testing and Quarantine.

Social Distancing

applies to everyone in the population. It has 4 levels:

Level 1 - Do nothing: everyone just goes about their normal day

Level 2 - No large gatherings: you will have to skip the concert, but you can still do most everything.

Level 3 - Close Public Venues - the churches and schools, the bars and restaurants are all closed.

Level 4 - Stay-at-home: no-one except essential workers can got to work, everything except grocery stores and other essential businesses are shut.

Testing and Quarantine

detemines how many people get tested, and how tightly the infected are controlled. It also has 4 levels:

Level 1 - Do nothing: Nobody gets tested and nobody is quarantined.

Level 2 - Some testing: People with severe symptoms get tested, and the infected are asked to voluntarily quarantine.

Level 3 - Good Testing: Many people get tested and and the infected are asked to voluntarily quarantine.

Level 4 - Mandatory Quarantine: Almost everyone gets tested and the infected are required to isolate.

So now that we understand the policies that we can apply, let's get to work. Note - if you float your mouse over the headings in the simulator table it will pop up the levels

Add some basic social distancing

Go to the top response slot, and set the time to be day 5, then set the social distancing to no large groups.
click run, and you should see the peak is now out around day 50, and only 20,000 beds are needed. Your response has 'flattened the curve' some - but nowhere near enough!

What about time?

What happens if you wait longer before acting?
reset the simulation and this time try closing public venues on day 5 (Social distancing, level 3). see how the peak is affected. Now run it again (reset) and wait 30 days to close the restaurants and bars. Whoa - just delaying a few weeks, and a lot more people get sick!

What about releasing controls

Okay, let's face it - people can't stay cooped up in their homes for the rest of their lives. (although you should see what effect that has on the hospitalization rate.) So, let's try this - apply social distancing, level 3 on day 5, then release the order on day 60:

Day appliedDistancing LevelTesting Level
5Level 3Level 1
60Level 1Level 1

Here we see that while the controls are in effect, they work. But if you release them too soon everything goes back to being bad. We delayed the big peak from day 44 to day 69, and it is a little lower because the social distancing had time to work. But unless you have gotten the disease under control, when you release the controls the disease spreads again.

What about Testing and Quarantine?

In the last step you controlled the transmission of the disease by limiting everyone. What can you do if you only focus on the infected?
reset the simulation, and this time set day 5 to have some testing and voluntary quarantine.

Day appliedDistancing LevelTesting Level
5Level 1Level 3
30Level 1Level 1

Hmmmm, not very impressive by itself, but it does help keep a several thousand people out of the hospital. But keep in mind, there weren't a lot of tests available in the early days.

So, Clearly you will need to explore the effects of combining both quarantine and social distancing if you are going to come up with a successful strategy.

Okay now it is your turn - Save Colorado