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Why-Pox Lab: Epidemic Simulator

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Epidemic Simulator
This simulation allows you to see if an infectious disease can lead to an epidemic. Whether this happens depends on how infectious the disease is.
  1. Choose how infectious it is. For example, a not very infectious disease may cause a sick person to infect 2 other people per day.
    Infections per day:
  2. Choose the start of the infectious period. If you choose 1, that means that the first day you catch this disease, you immediately become infectious and can pass it to others. Often, it takes a little while after you catch a disease before you become infectious.
    Infectious Start day:
  3. Choose the end of the infectious period. Often, even though you don't feel completely recovered, you are no longer infectious.
    Infectious End day:
While the epidemic is still on the rise, infecting more and more people every day, the graph is going uphill. When the graph is going downhill, it means the epidemic is on its way to being over. If the graph stays flat, that means the disease is not infectious enough to become an epidemic.

When we collect more data, we'll show the information on this tool as a graph. You'll be able to help us understand the disease by trying to match that graph.

For now, prepare yourself by trying the following:

  1. Choose Day 1 as the start of the infectious period and Day 4 as the end. Now choose to have each person infect only one other person every day. Click "Graph". Increase the number of people infected per day to 2 and graph again. Increase the number to 3 and graph again. How do the graphs change? What does this mean? Does it make sense? Comment in the BBS
  2. Choose to infect 3 people per person per day. Set Day 1 as the start of the infectious period and Day 1 as the end. Click "Graph". Now move the end of the infectious period to Day 2 and graph again. Move it to Day 3, Day 4, and so on. How do you expect the graphs to change? Does the peak of the epidemic happens sooner or later? Does the epidemic last longer or shorter? Does it makes sense to you? Comment in the BBS
  3. Now, try testing the beginning of the infectious period. Choose to infect 3 people per day. Set the END of the infectious period at Day 6. Change the start of the infectious period from Day 1 to 2 to 3 to 4. How do the graphs change this time? Can you explain the changes? Comment in the BBS
  4. Did you notice that you always held all the bars at the same number except one? Why did we do that? How does that help us understand what's going on? Comment in the BBS

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