Mathematical modelling and COVID-19

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Overview

Mathematical modelling of infectious diseases is a tool to:

Models use mathematical equations to estimate how many cases of a disease may occur in the coming weeks or months. They help researchers simulate real-world possibilities in a virtual environment.

While models can’t predict what will happen, they can help us understand what might happen in certain scenarios. This can help us plan and act to achieve the best possible outcome.

Canada’s approach

Canada has been using data and modelling throughout COVID-19 to guide public health action.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has created a Canadian COVID-19 modelling network made up of federal, provincial, territorial and university-based modellers and epidemiologists. This group of experts supports Canada’s efforts to model and make predictions on the COVID-19 epidemic.

Canada uses 2 modelling approaches:

Why modelling is important

Using these models, we can:

Infectious disease patterns are affected by our actions to prevent spread. Models and their predictions therefore will change depending on the actions of the population. They tell us which public health measures are working to slow the spread of COVID-19.

At this time, modelling data shows that public health measures remain essential to controlling COVID-19 in Canada. These measures include:

Just as case rates of COVID-19 differ across the country, projections also differ. As we learn more about the virus, we update our models accordingly.

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