As we face critical decisions about whether and how to resume our daily lives in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are being tempted into making the wrong comparisons writes Affiliate Professor of Biostatistics and Fred Hutch researcher Ruth Etzioni.
In the News
Affiliate Professor of Biostatistics and Fred Hutch researcher Ruth Etzioni writes that not all COVID-19 models are created equal. There are key differences between the models that are currently being used to guide the national conversation — differences that should be understood by the public.
A recently-released study found that while travel bans have been useful in slowing the spread of coronavirus, social distancing measures have been far more effective in controlling the epidemic. “Delaying is good because it slows things down,” said the study’s co-author Elizabeth Halloran, a UW professor of biostatistics. “But this idea of reducing the transmissibility is really key.”
This interactive graphic was created using the data and expertise of Professor of Biostatistics Betz Halloran and others. It analyzed the movements of hundreds of millions of people to show why the most extensive travel restrictions to stop an outbreak in human history haven’t been enough.
Elizabeth Halloran, UW professor of biostatistics and a senior researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, said it’s crucial that the US boost its testing capacity even for people with mild or no symptoms. Studies show that undetected cases drive the growth in epidemics as people who don’t feel severely ill often continue to go about life, infecting those they interact with.
The coronavirus has an estimated transmission rate of 2.5 or higher, said Elizabeth Halloran, a professor of biostatistics at the University of Washington School of Public Health, in Seattle. "It's going to be difficult, even if it does go down somewhat seasonally in the summer, to bring that down necessarily below 1," Halloran said. "We're looking at a very contagious infection."
“Basically, if I infect one other person or more ... then the epidemic can take off. If I infect less than one person and everybody infects less than one person, then the epidemic will decline,” said Elizabeth Halloran, a disease researcher at the University of Washington.
The use of biomarkers measured in urine, blood, or other biospecimens could strengthen assessments of diet, says Ross Prentice, PhD, member of the Cancer Prevention Program in the Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, Seattle, Washington. Prentice is also a UW professor of biostatistics.