A model society: maths, models and expertise in viral outbreaks

Rhodes, Tim; Lancaster, Kari and Rosengarten, Marsha. 2020. A model society: maths, models and expertise in viral outbreaks. Critical Public Health, 30(3), pp. 253-256. ISSN 0958-1596 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Viral outbreaks and public health emergencies obligate an urgent need for evidence to inform rapid responses. In the case of SARS-Cov-2, a novel virus linked to the fast-moving COVID-19 pandemic, mathematical models projecting disease outbreaks and the potential effects of interventions are playing a critical role. Modelled projections are not only evidence-making policy decisions, but are afforded power-of-acting in public understandings and in social life. We propose here that COVID-19 is coming to be known in maths and models. We trace this process not only in policy but in media stories of maths, mathematicians and models. We accentuate the social life of maths and models, which feed citizen science and social actions in relation to COVID-19. There are general lessons from the emergent evidence-making of COVID-19 for how we do science for public health.

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“This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Critical Public Health on 31 Mar 2020, available online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09581596.2020.1748310.”


COVID-19, pandemics, Viral outbreaks, public health emergencies, mathematical models, modelled projections, maths, mathematicians, models, public health

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25 March 2020Accepted
31 March 2020Published Online

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Date Deposited:

01 Apr 2020 08:46

Last Modified:

09 Jun 2021 16:18

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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