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Cockcroft-Walton Webinar 2022: Covid-19 Lessons for the Future


The Cockcroft-Walton lecture series is a bilateral exchange of lecturers between the Institute of Physics (IOP) and Indian Physics Association (IPA).  

This year the series includes 2 lectures and Q&A sessions with Associate Professor Katerina Kaouri and Professor Gautam Menon who have been working on modelling the COVID-19 pandemic.

'Modelling airborne transmission of viruses' by Associate Professor Katerina Kaouri

SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, has claimed more than six million lives by now. Scientists world-wide, in collaboration with governments, have been working around the clock to fight the pandemic. I will present some of our research with the University of Oxford (funded by the Welsh Government and the Royal Society); a new model (Lau et al, 2022) for the airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 that can quickly determine the risk to get infected in an indoor space, such as a classroom or a restaurant. The model agrees well with real superspreader events and can be used to study other viral diseases transmitted through the air. 

'Modelling COVID-19' by Professor Gautam Menon

Much of policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic, both worldwide and in India, has been driven through models of how the pandemic might develop in the future. Models currently accommodate considerable complexity - multiple variants of the virus, vaccinations,  age and social mixing and hybrid immunity arising from a combination of a prior infection and a vaccination.   I will summarize some of the models that have been applied to India, indicate where their domains of applicability lie, describe some of their successes and failures and finally discuss where better models can provide more nuanced approaches to infectious disease spread, not just of COVID-19 but of similar transmissible diseases.