Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Retirement Conference for Colin Please

Unfortunately, I just checked and I am still COVID positive, so regrettably I will be missing the retirement conference and party for my Oxford colleague Colin Please. (Alhough I am far from perfect, I feel well enough to have attended if I weren't still testing positive. I may chat with some people during a break outside and from a safe distance.)

A more general thing to point out, and it relates to the fact that I already interacted with Colin several years before he joined the Oxford faculty — I wonder if he remembers my antics during the 'mock tutorial' part of his Oxford interview? — is that I have always admired and enjoyed just how tightly know the British applied-mathematics community is. People across some many of the institutions know each other really well and often "randomly" show up at events in nearby cities even when their affiliations are different. I miss that.

Congratulations to Colin on his retirement!

Saturday, June 25, 2022

"Networks of Necessity: Simulating COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies for Disabled People and Their Caregivers"

One of my papers just came out in final form. Here are some details.

Title: Networks of Necessity: Simulating COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies for Disabled People and Their Caregivers

Authors: Thomas E. Valles, Hannah Shoenhard, Joseph Zinski, Sarah Trick, Mason A. Porter, and Michael R. Lindstrom

Abstract: A major strategy to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is the limiting of in-person contacts. However, limiting contacts is impractical or impossible for the many disabled people who do not live in care facilities but still require caregivers to assist them with activities of daily living. We seek to determine which interventions can best prevent infections of disabled people and their caregivers. To accomplish this, we simulate COVID-19 transmission with a compartmental model that includes susceptible, exposed, asymptomatic, symptomatically ill, hospitalized, and removed/recovered individuals. The networks on which we simulate disease spread incorporate heterogeneity in the risk levels of different types of interactions, time-dependent lockdown and reopening measures, and interaction distributions for four different groups (caregivers, disabled people, essential workers, and the general population). Of these groups, we find that the probability of becoming infected is largest for caregivers and second largest for disabled people. Consistent with this finding, our analysis of network structure illustrates that caregivers have the largest modal eigenvector centrality of the four groups. We find that two interventions—contact-limiting by all groups and mask-wearing by disabled people and caregivers—most reduce the number of infections in disabled and caregiver populations. We also test which group of people spreads COVID-19 most readily by seeding infections in a subset of each group and comparing the total number of infections as the disease spreads. We find that caregivers are the most potent spreaders of COVID-19, particularly to other caregivers and to disabled people. We test where to use limited infection-blocking vaccine doses most effectively and find that (1) vaccinating caregivers better protects disabled people from infection than vaccinating the general population or essential workers and that (2) vaccinating caregivers protects disabled people from infection about as effectively as vaccinating disabled people themselves. Our results highlight the potential effectiveness of mask-wearing, contact-limiting throughout society, and strategic vaccination for limiting the exposure of disabled people and their caregivers to COVID-19.

What Happens in the United Kingdom Stays in the United Kingdom

I arrived in Oxford a bit over a week ago, but I forgot to blog about it. I then visited friends in Newcastle during the weekend and returned to Oxford on Monday. Unfortunately, I caught COVID and have thus delayed my return flight to the US. I am currently in a room in Somerville College (in Oxford) struggling through COVID and gradually (but bumpily) improving.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

What Happens in Stockholm Stays in Stockholm

I am about to head to Stockholm for a networks conference that we were supposed to have in 2020. Only a bit late!

This is my first international flight during the COVID era. Meanwhile, I'll also be desperately trying to grade my final projects and finally finish the academic year.