Networks and epidemics: when the going gets tough

1. Facts: the biological epidemic

Credits: wikipedia
Credits: Nature, “Network theory may explain the vulnerability of medieval human settlements to the Black Death pandemic”
Credits: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/world/asia/china-coronavirus-contain.html
Credits: Pastore y Piontti, Perra, Rossi, Samay, Vespignani, “Charting the Next Pandemic”

2. The story: the infodemic

  • promptly recognize the event;
  • prepare a response that save the population and mitigate the risk;
  • manage and communicate the crisis.
Credits: WHO, report of 7/2/2020
  • the mass hysteria for the novelty, which we may call the “Welles effect”, in reference to the radio play “The war of the worlds” directed and played by Orson Welles in 1938, with the narration of the alien invasion imagined by H. Wells in its novel (although the “myth” of mass panic caused by radio has been the subject of debate over time);
  • the growing expectation, looking for the smallest signs of the presence of an enemy not yet arrived but deeply feared, which we could call the “Bastiani effect”, referred to the Bastiani Fortress of “Il Deserto dei Tartari” (The tartar step in english) written by the italian writer Dino Buzzati, within the which the main character Giovanni Drogo waits for the enemy long told but never seen before.
Credits: WHO, report of 7/2/2020

3. The complex vision: let’s try to understand better what we are talking about and how we can interpret facts

Credits: game VAX!
Credits: Complexity explorables
  • see the evolution over time of a virus spreading in a group (on the left in the picture above);
  • set the transmissibility rate and the spread rate of the vaccine (on the right).
Picture of Pandemic game board
Credits of picture
Credits of picture
Credits of picture
Picture: Lorenz attractor, a system of ordinary differential equations with chaotic solutions for certain parameter values and initial conditions; credits
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Editorial Coordinator of Complexity Education Project; Digital Learning Manager. Explorer in complexity, data visualization, network science

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Stranger Than Fiction

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Massimo Conte

Massimo Conte

Editorial Coordinator of Complexity Education Project; Digital Learning Manager. Explorer in complexity, data visualization, network science

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