Never before in history has science played such a major role in combating a pandemic as during the COVID-19 crisis. And with the large amounts of data available on numbers of people infected and numbers of people killed, the rapidly available genetic code of the virus and numerous digital techniques, mathematicians and computer scientists were given an important task.
During more than a year and a half of the coronacrisis, CWI researchers worked on epidemiological models, apps for contact tracing, statistical methods for drug trials and vaccination strategy. They also contributed to the committee Digitale Ondersteuning Bestrijding Covid-19 and tried to improve the national corona policy.
In the longread at the CWI website, they look back with CWI-researcher Peter Boncz on how CWI helped fight the corona crisis.
In the first weeks of March 2020, CWI researchers Peter Boncz, Bert Zwart and Peter Grünwald started to regularly discuss how they could use their expertise in mathematics and computer science in the fight against the corona crisis. The coronavirus had long reached the Netherlands, the country had just mourned its first corona death, but the measures were very limited and localised.
“In February 2020, we were already concerned about the exponential growth in the number of corona infections and the lack of far-reaching measures,” Boncz looks back in August 2021 at the start of the pandemic in the Netherlands. “In March, we felt we had to try everything to wake up the government and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, RIVM. We wanted to use our expertise to improve policy.”
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