KUNC: Can a board game help us understand the pandemic we're living through?Jun 28, 2020
Leacock began developing the game in 2004 after reading "The Hot Zone" during the SARS outbreak. He wanted to create a collaborative game where your opponent is not the human sitting next to you, but is instead the cardboard on the table in front of you. It took him three years to develop the game, but he knew in the first 20 minutes that the game would involve a disease with reinfection.
"Back in March, I think the reality was that if we didn't take measures, there would have been a peak that would have exceeded our healthcare capacity. I feel confident in that," said Dr. Jonathan Samet, an epidemiologist and dean of the Colorado School of Public Health.
Samet and other scientists don't think of this decision-making process as a game. They call it "modeling." They write detailed equations — and they look at lots and lots of data, tweak some of the parameters, and see if the outcome matches their projections.
Samet describes making a model like going to the airport.
"Where you have an intrinsic idea of, you know a base idea of how long it takes to get to the airport and then you start making adjustments. It's 4 o'clock or it's, you know, it's 10 a.m.. It's a snowy day. It's not a snowy day," he said.
The more complex the scenario, the more complicated the model needs to be to get it right. Samet gave his wife directions to the airport one day, but she didn't make the flight.
"I said turn right, get on the 10 freeway and you can't miss the airport. It's gonna take you a half hour. About 10 minutes later she's calling me, extraordinarily disturbed. Traffic is not moving, nothing is happening. A tanker truck full of molasses had overturned on the 10 freeway," he said. Their model didn't include a molasses jam.
Read the full story at KUNC.