Researchers help New York State model COVID-19 outbreak

Dr Samir Bhatt

Dr Samir Bhatt

Imperial’s Covid-19 Response team will advise the state of New York as they look to re-open following lockdown.

The team will work with the state to provide technical advice and analyse data and metrics throughout the state’s reopening process and help track the state’s progress.

Dr Samir Bhatt, from the School of Public Health, is a member of Imperial’s Covid-19 Response team, which have been modeling the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, and will lead the work.

The team, which is a WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Modelling within the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, Jameel Institute (J-IDEA) , Imperial College London is collaborating with New York State to inform the COVID-19 response.

Governor of New York State, Andrew Cuomo said: “We’ve been watching all these projection models since this started.

"As you know, many of the models were not 100 per cent accurate because they couldn’t calculate the effect of the social participation and what people actually did to change the curve.

"And in a State like New York, what the people did dramatically changed that curve so it affected the projections. But, the Imperial College model, as we’ve been following this for weeks, was the best, most accurate model.”

"The Imperial College model, as we’ve been following this for weeks, was the best, most accurate model." Andrew Cuomo Governor of New York State


This work stream involves many talented researchers at Imperial. The lead of this work stream, Dr Bhatt explains that although understanding COVID-19 transmission is challenging, the models work well.

The team have been estimating the reproduction number over time - the number of people one infected person infects. This estimate relies on daily number of reported deaths.

Partnering with New York State, the team will integrate data on testing and hospitalisations to build a framework that provides an important thread of evidence for decision-making.

Dr Bhatt says “We are committed to transparent research and welcome the collaboration of other scientists to work towards this common goal”.

Governor Cuomo added: “I think Dr Bhatt deserves all our thanks because they really helped us all through this to date, and I want to thank him very much for taking the time to advise us, not just on how we constructed our model to date but what happens going forward as we increase the economic activity and we start to see numbers change.

"So, Doctor, thank you very much for being with us, and it’s a pleasure to welcome you today.

Dr Bhatt said: “At Imperial, we have a huge COVID-19 response team collaborating with scientists and government agencies globally.

“In New York, you have successfully contained the virus for now, but New York is not out of the woods yet. No state, no country is.

“As you reopen, New York must continue to watch the data and follow the science. We are really eager to work with New York, as they’re approaching this crisis from a scientific perspective driven by data.”

New York state is one of scores of governments around the world being advised by Imperial infectious disease modellers.


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