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Hughes Alumnus co-authors key COVID-19 paper

Tamay Besiroglu (2018, Economics) has recently co-authored a paper published in Science magazine which looks at the effectiveness of government interventions against COVID-19.

Tamay Besiroglu

Since early 2020, Tamay has been involved in a number of projects related to COVID-19 modelling and forecasting. He also leads strategy for Metaculus, a California-based technology company, where he’s been working to generate epidemiological forecasting resources for the general public, the US CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and US hospitals.

His latest paper, looking at the effectiveness of government interventions against COVID-19, was produced in collaboration with a group of computer scientists from the University of Oxford, the Australian National University and the University of Harvard. The team built a dataset on the implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions, and used statistical models to infer how effective these are at reducing COVID-19 transmission.

The paper’s primary areas of focus are:

  • The effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs)—such as limits on gathering sizes, business closures, and the closures of educational institutions through stay-at-home orders—in reducing the transmission of COVID-19.
  • Insights into which areas of public life are most in need of virus containment measures so that activities can continue as the pandemic develops.

Tamay has said of the work: ‘I’m hoping that better procedures are followed and their implementation is informed by the latest research. This is important especially now that multiple effective vaccines are now on the cusp of being widely distributed. Preventing transmission now gives people a good chance of avoiding ever being infected. I’d be very glad if, at the end of the pandemic, most of those who end up having developed immunity did so a consequence of vaccination, not infection.’

You can read Tamay’s paper in Science magazine here

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