Close to 9 months into the Indian COVID-19 pandemic, we are in a better position to appreciate both what both India and the world did right, as well as to understand the mistakes that may have been made. Our knowledge of COVID-19 and of the virus that causes it, SARS-CoV‑2, has increased tremendously in these past several months but there is much more that we don’t know. Good models for how diseases spread give us the ability to understand both what ‘did’ happen as well as to investigate counterfactual histories. They also give you the ability to make projections into the future. I’ll summarise what we currently know about COVID-19, stressing the gaps that need to be filled, and then describe, at a non-technical level, how the models I work on try to address some of them. The study of infectious diseases in populations is an exceptionally interdisciplinary field and I will try to emphasise the many intersections between science, social science and public policy that it involves.
Gautam I Menon, Professor, Departments of Physics and Biology, Ashoka University, Sonepat & The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai.