Entries by David Roberts

Mathematical models to support Victoria’s COVID-19 response: a blunt instrument to a complex problem

Throughout Victoria’s COVID-19 response, a suite of mathematical and statistical models have been used to understand the spread and subsequent control of the pandemic. High-profile mathematical outputs, such as case forecasts, give a good picture of the general epidemic activity in a given region. However, when case numbers are small, forecasts can be very sensitive. Moreso, when there is only a handful of cases, more detailed factors such as geographic distribution of cases, or at-risk industries, are possibly more informative.

Mathematical modelling of Australian COVID-19 response: A PhD student perspective

It has been a little over 12 months since COVID-19 became a regular headline in the Australian media, but I would not be alone in saying it has definitely felt longer. At the time I was entering the third year of my PhD in mathematics and epidemiology, so when news broke of the new virus in late 2019, I was certainly paying attention. Little did I know it would affect not only my life as a researcher in the field, but everyone across the world.

Australian Mathematical Society expresses concerns about the proposed new mathematics curriculum

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) is currently developing a new national school curriculum, including for mathematics. On the 2nd of July the President of the AustMS, Prof. Ole Warnaar, contacted David de Carvalho, CEO of ACARA, asking for an extension of the consultation period, and further details about the design process and evidence base for the proposed mathematics curriculum.

Contribution of mathematical modelling to COVID-19 response strategies in regional and remote Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

The health and science communities recognised early on in the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians were likely to be at high risk of COVID-19 infection and severe outcomes. Our prior research and existing modelling frameworks enabled us to quickly begin the process of responding to the questions of interest to the IAG.

Informing the COVID-19 response: mathematicians’ contributions to pandemic planning and response

COVID-19 has changed how we live our lives, and will continue to do so for some time yet. Australia has been fortunate in many ways. We have clearly defined borders which are able to be managed effectively. We have a highly functional public health system. Despite the challenges in Victoria in mid-2020, ultimately we increased testing and contact tracing capacity enough to suppress transmission. We have, for the most part, seen coherent leadership from our state and Commonwealth political leaders.