Amazon Web Services (AWS) today open-sourced a new simulator and machine learning toolkit for anticipating and mitigating the spread of COVID-19. AWS says that the suite, which comprises a disease progression simulator and models to test the impact of various intervention strategies, can help to accurately capture many of the complexities of the virus in the world.
While there have been a number of breakthroughs in understanding COVID-19, such as how soon an exposed person will develop symptoms, building an all-encompassing epidemiological model remains an uphill battle. Challenges in model building include identifying variables that influence disease spread across cities, countries, and populations. A performant model must also combine intervention strategies such as closures and stay-at-home orders and explore hypotheticals by incorporating trends from COVID-19-like diseases.