U of G Research on Pandemic Reopening Makes Headlines

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Prof. Madhur Anand

New University of Guelph research that analyzes strategies for reopening public spaces after the COVID-19 epidemic curve flattens is making headlines across the country.

The study is written by Madhur Anand, a professor in the School of Environmental Sciences (SES) and director of U of G’s Guelph Institute for Environmental Research, along with SES post-doctoral researcher Vadim Karatayev and Chris Bauch, research chair in the University of Waterloo’s Department of Applied Mathematics.

The research, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, uses mathematical modelling to analyze different strategies for reopening schools, businesses and workplaces.

It compares a customized local strategy of reopening schools and workplaces and reclosing as needed based on county-specific infection prevalence with a more global strategy of province-wide reopening and reclosing.

The research found that the number of COVID-19 cases rises with local reopenings but only modestly.

The study was featured on TVO.org and CBC’s The National. The National covered the research in a report looking at small Canadian communities that have seen few cases of COVID-19 and are frustrated that reopenings are taking so long.

The report cites the research of Anand and her colleagues, noting the finding that taking a tailored approach to local reopenings results in “far fewer days” of closures with only “slightly more coronavirus disease,” even if travellers move in and out of a region.

Anand holds the Canada Research Chair in Global Ecological Change and the University Research Chair in Sustainability Sciences. She studies responses of ecological systems to global changes, including climate change and human impacts, and modelling of human-environment sustainability.