March 14, Oegstgeest

  • Facts

It is March 14. Corona (COVID-19) has reached Oegstgeest and infected two villagers. We, in our 70s with problems, prefer house arrest with the acceptance of carefully protected purchasing and cycling leaves. The protection consists of not letting anyone in and wearing disposable latex gloves outside. We expect that it will take at least 2 months and that the chance of effective elimination of the virus is limited: we do not know everything about this virus or how it behaves and how we and our fellow citizens will behave under the pressure that can arise (such as seen in Wuhan, Taiwan and Italy). We are worried. Welmoed is in chemotherapy (which also means a weekly visit to the hospital) and has no resistance at all, but she is young. Nienke is 73, hardly mobile and has a damaged resistance and I certainly no longer have the happy physical condition of the past.

Coincidentally, the day before yesterday I got hold of a book by Duncan Watts from 2002 that deals with what he calls network science and which is called Six Degrees. It provides a picture that fits well with the kind of research that Kunbei and I are trying to get off the ground. Noteworthy is chapter 6 on how networks help to understand (and thus can help to rationally slow down) epidemic processes. I will try to demonstrate our approach, that aims to gain comprehension through simulations with agent-based models by applying it to Corona developments.

In addition, I will also have to find explanations for the effects of incidental denying the pandemic, whether this is prompted by a first-see-then-believe skepticism or by a holy belief in the protective wisdom of an almighty. Watts claims that network science can also help with this.