<aside> ‼️ Trigger warning: This lesson is extremely relevant and has the potential to induce trauma. If you need to sit this one out, I fully understand. I won't ask any questions. Let me know in a private message.


Discussion on Limited Resources

"Flatten the Curve"

What exactly does that mean?


Sure, COVID isn't scary if you portray "ooh only 1% of all cases are serious or critical." But even 1% of the entire United States is a LOT of people—3.3 million. For perspective, see World War II statistics on deaths.


All this to say, that it is imperative that we implement some kind of measures in order to "flatten the curve." If we don't, we would overwhelm the capacity of our hospitals, leaving nurses and doctors even more overworked, hospitals overflowing, and higher rates of death. It's not things we want to think about.

From this point of view, it makes sense that we would want to minimize the number of active and new cases as much as possible.

Agent Based Modeling


NetLogo is a form of "agent-based modeling" (ABM) That means we often define our code in terms of how our agents/people/turtles will behave. The core aspect of ABM is that we focus on the "rules" that govern those agents—what are they going to do on a normal or daily basis. For the Wolf-Sheep Model, that was to walk around. For the Forest Fire, that was to spread fire to nearby trees. For our virus spread, that's to do both—walk around and spread a virus around!

Usually, we start with a very generalized form of the behavior. In our case, we just had a thousand or so turtles wandering around and spreading the model. There are hundreds of things we could add to make our model more realistic—adding cities, hospitals, etc.


One way we can make our model more realistic is to make our virus temporary. For most cases of any kind of virus, people get sick for a week or two and then become immune! Their bodies develop antibodies (biology). We don't know a lot about coronavirus, but let's assume (hopefully) that COVID-19 has not mutated yet and that we can't catch it twice. (This may be something to explore later!)


Today, we will be working with this new template! Even if you have some saved work from Tuesday, we're going to be using this template.