The COVID-19 pandemic has caused illness and mortality across the globe, with particularly devastating impact on the poor and communities of color. In a recent Transmissions article, "Well-mixed models do not protect the vulnerable in segregated societies", Melanie Moses and Kathy Powers examine the racial disparities in COVID-19 disease prevalence and mortality. They ask: What are the causes of the disparate impact of COVID-19, why did epidemic models not predict it, and what can be done to address it?
This talk will describe complex causes of disease and mortality, including structural differences in work circumstances, living conditions, health status, and healthcare access across racial groups. It will focus on how conditions that affect disease transmission and severity are amplified by the spatial segregation of Latinx, Native- and African American communities in the US. More broadly, it will call for incorporating into epidemic models spatial factors from the nano-scale interactions of virus in the lung to meter and km scale interactions among people that are influenced by political and socio-economic factors across communities, states and nations.
ABOUT MELANIE MOSES:
Melanie Moses is a Principal Investigator at the Moses Biological Computation Lab at the University of New Mexico and an External Professor at Santa Fe Institute. She studies complex biological and information systems, the scaling properties of networks, and the general rules governing the acquisition of energy and information in complex adaptive systems. Melanie's focus is on the efficiency of growth and information exchange in biological and computational networks, and how the size and topology of networks determine emergent system behavior. Melanie draws insights, tools and approaches from different disciplines in an effort to find unifying principles in the natural world.