- Its practically impossible to perfectly quarantine a significant portion of a population.
- I don’t believe tests work with multiple samples, and if they did and the test comes back positive, then what? You can’t isolate a significant portion people, so you have to re-test everyone again.
- Test’s are not fool proof and diluting the virus with other samples would make it even harder to detect
I’m not sure how a binary search will help against the COVID-19.
Binary search is used to find a specific value in a sorted array. It might be useful to find multiple numbers in a given array, or other use cases where you can leverage the limited amount of look ups. It can’t really be applied or used to help determine who is or isn’t sick, at least with your example. A key part of making a Binary search is building the sorted array for use later. This requires going over the entire array at least 1 time (n), which in the real world would mean testing 100% of everyone which isn’t close to practically possible, even in countries who are prepared for the outbreak.
Basically all sorting algorithms wouldn’t be of much help with COVID-19.
The most applicable “computer science math” I can think of that could be useful is something along the lines of tree traversal, but then you still need to define the edges (vectors of transmission) to build your graph. To build the edges you still need to know who has the virus, and who interacts with who.(which is almost impossible in the real world) It might be useful to trace transmissions between known cases to know “how many hops” the virus has taken, again only if you know who caught it from who.
Other math like statistics is useful for projections, and other data modeling (like what is linked below) so we can determine what should be done when and where. But all of this comes back to real world limitations, like testing, equipment, and logistics.
Social distancing and limiting how much people move is currently very important in slowing the spread. Here is a fantastic article on how changes to humans behavior affect the spread of the virus. Namely reducing the speed of the spread is key to saving lives as it “flattens the curve”, where the health care system stays under capacity and thus provide the best care to its patients, rather then having a ton of sick people at the same time.
This isn’t true at all. The CDC, WHO and other health organizations around the globe all know about how to manage a crisis using math and science, its their job. A lot of smart people around the globe are focusing their efforts on finding solutions to all the problems the virus has brought up. A lot of measures currently being in place (like all the social distancing and shutting down of large gathers) are based in statistics.
The current biggest challenge for most countries (including the United States) is the lack of tests. If a country has enough tests and follows the correct protocols (along with the proper social distancing measures) they can significantly limit the spread simply due to being able to enact the correct measures in the right places at the right time for the right people. Information is power, and in scenarios like COVID-19 information will save lives.
Examples of countries that have been very prepared, would be South Korea (which has tested 240k+ people to date), and Taiwan (which has only a handful of cases), both of which have significant testing and protocol measures across the country which help identify and limit the viruses ability to spread.
Stay safe out there!