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Staggered Release Policies for COVID-19 Control: Costs and Benefits of Relaxing Restrictions by Age and Risk

Abstract: Lockdown and social distancing restrictions have been widely used as part of policy efforts aimed at controlling the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Since these restrictions have a negative impact on the economy, there exists a strong incentive to relax these policies while protecting public health. Using a multigroup SEIR epidemiological model, we explore the costs and benefits associated with the sequential release of specific groups based on age and risk from isolation. The results suggest that properly designed staggered-release policies can do better than simultaneous-release policies in terms of protecting the most vulnerable members of a population, reducing health risks overall, and increasing economic activity.

I will also introduce briefly some of the research awards funded by the Mathematical Biology program at the NSF in response to the NSF COVID-19 RAPID DCL.


Short Bio: Zhilan Feng studied mathematics at Jilin and Arizona State Universities, where she was a doctoral student of Horst Thieme. She was a post-doctoral and visiting fellow with Carlos Castillo-Chavez and Simon Levin at Cornell and Princeton Universities, respectively, before joining the faculty in the Department of Mathematics at Purdue University, where she became full professor in 2005. She is currently a program director for the Mathematical Biology program in the Division of Mathematical Sciences at the National Science Foundation. Her research includes mathematical modeling of ecology and epidemiology using ordinary, partial, and integro-differential equations. Many of her research projects had been partially supported by grants from NSF, CDC, James S. McDonnell Foundation, and Showalter Trust.  She has supervised 15 Ph.D. students at Purdue University. She has co-authored three books and published more than 100 papers on mathematical biology and applied mathematics. She is an editor for Journal of Theoretical Biology, Mathematical Biosciences, SIAM Journal of Applied Mathematics, and Journal of Biological Dynamics. She is currently the chair of the Mathematical Epidemiology Subgroup of SMB and has been elected to the Board of Directors of SMB.

Zhilan Feng, Department of Mathematics, Purdue University Mathematical Biology Program, DMS, National Science Foundation, USA
Date, Time: 
Friday, July 3, 2020 - 20:30 to 21:30