All Models Are Wrong, But I Hope Some Are Useful Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

In the midst of COVID-19 pandemic, different states and institutions (such as universities) are debating the infection risk of social gathering, the sufficiency of ICU capacity, and the public health risk of hosting summer events.  Professor Edward Kaplan of Yale University examines these urgent issues in his forthcoming OM Forum paper, "COVID-19 Scratch Models to Support Local Decisions," which underwent a "fast track" review by two anonymous reviewers and I have accepted after two revisions.

In Kaplan’s paper, he has developed different models from scratch and used real data to illustrate their implications.  Even though these models are far from perfect, I have decided to make his paper accessible to the public (free of charge) immediately by posting his paper as a blog while it undergoes expedited production for M&SOM.  In my mind, academic colleagues and university administrators may consider applying or refining these models for making local decisions.  It is my hope that Kaplan’s models will inspire us to develop some models that are useful for our society at large.  During this challenging period of time, operations management models are more useful than ever: they can save lives, not just costs!

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