Yesterday, I was asked to give a virtual lecture on disease dynamics in our BIO 16 Ecology course here at Dartmouth in the Spring Term. 

I just finished the Powerpoint for the lecture, and I though some might like to see an explanation of the model that under girds all the public policy decisions, where Rcomes from, and how this metric influences Social Distancing, among other things.

All of these concepts are derived from the SIR model of disease dynamics.  I start the lecture with a brief history setting where SIR models came from.  The first was proposed by Sir Ronald Ross, winner of the 1902 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering that mosquitoes are the vector for the malaria parasite.  The rest of the lecture explains the SIR model to students (mainly college freshmen) taking this class, and then showing them how this model is used by public health professionals to generate public policy during times such as these, and how it can be elaborated.  I also touch on what vaccinations do.

You’ll need to exercise some of your basic 7th grade math and intro calculus skills (sorry!) to really get deep into this.

Also, for those teaching, if you find any of the slides useful, please feel free to use them as you see fit. I have uploaded both Powerpoint and PDF versions of the slides.

Also, if you’d like to watch me give a virtual lecture on this material, watch the following video: