Introduction to COVID-19 Lab

In this lab, we will bring everything we have learned this series of labs together to understand something of current importance: the COVID-19 pandemic. You will need to use logarithms to linearize data, fit data with a line, and develop a Monte Carlo simulation to propagate uncertainties. The goal of this work will be to measure an important property of the disease: a quantity R_0. What R_0 represents will be discussed in a later section, but it is one of the key metrics for how a disease spreads.

You may have noticed that over the course of this series of labs, we have been reducing the amount of support provided for your spreadsheets. In the first lab, we provided a template for you to edit. As we have gone along, the instructions have become more and more vague. This structure is by design: we want you to become more independent in your spreadsheets. In this lab, we will not be providing templates, just overall instructions through the questions, and you will build the workbook yourself as you see fit. You are, of course, encouraged to get help as you need it, however.

Our goals

  • Bring everything we have learned over the course of this lab together
  • Understand the quantity R_0
  • Discover R_0 for COVID-19 in the United States at various stages of the pandemic.
  • Understand the impact of interventions on exponential growth.
  • Build a workbook on your own.

Let’s get started!


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Physics 132 Lab Manual by Brokk Toggerson and Aidan Philbin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book