Pandemic experts put ‘least weight’ on recovery stats, look to hospitalizations

April 7, 2020

Scientists who track the growth of pandemics say some figures provided by public health officials tell more about the spread of the novel coronavirus than others.

Wall Associate and UBC Mathematics Professor Daniel Coombs was interviewed about his work with COVID-19 pandemic modelling. He says the number of people admitted to hospitals tells him where COVID-19 stands in a community, a province or across the entire country, while the number of new positive tests and reports of how many people have recovered are less important.

Coombs, who is also an expert on multi-scale infectious disease models and a member of the Mathematical Biology Group and the Institute of Applied Mathematics at UBC, was recently a guest on the Peter Wall Institute’s Ways of Knowing Podcast. In the episode, PWIAS Interim Director and Ways of Knowing host Kalina Christoff and Coombs discuss mathematical modelling and how it can be used to improve our response to the current outbreak. You can listen to the episode here.