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Spotlight
How Robust are the Estimated Effects of Nonpharmaceutical Interventions against COVID-19?
Mrinank Sharma · Sören Mindermann · Jan Brauner · Gavin Leech · Anna Stephenson · Tomáš Gavenčiak · Jan Kulveit · Yee Whye Teh · Leonid Chindelevitch · Yarin Gal

Wed Dec 09 08:30 AM -- 08:40 AM (PST) @ Orals & Spotlights: COVID/Applications/Composition

To what extent are effectiveness estimates of nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) against COVID-19 influenced by the assumptions our models make? To answer this question, we investigate 2 state-of-the-art NPI effectiveness models and propose 6 variants that make different structural assumptions. In particular, we investigate how well NPI effectiveness estimates generalise to unseen countries, and their sensitivity to unobserved factors. Models which account for noise in disease transmission compare favourably. We further evaluate how robust estimates are to different choices of epidemiological parameters and data. Focusing on models that assume transmission noise, we find that previously published results are robust across these choices and across different models. Finally, we mathematically ground the interpretation of NPI effectiveness estimates when certain common assumptions do not hold.

Author Information

Mrinank Sharma (University of Oxford)
Sören Mindermann (University of Oxford)
Jan Brauner (University of Oxford)
Gavin Leech (University of Bristol)
Anna Stephenson (Harvard University)
Tomáš Gavenčiak (Independent researcher)
Jan Kulveit (University of Oxford)
Yee Whye Teh (University of Oxford, DeepMind)

I am a Professor of Statistical Machine Learning at the Department of Statistics, University of Oxford and a Research Scientist at DeepMind. I am also an Alan Turing Institute Fellow and a European Research Council Consolidator Fellow. I obtained my Ph.D. at the University of Toronto (working with Geoffrey Hinton), and did postdoctoral work at the University of California at Berkeley (with Michael Jordan) and National University of Singapore (as Lee Kuan Yew Postdoctoral Fellow). I was a Lecturer then a Reader at the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit, UCL, and a tutorial fellow at University College Oxford, prior to my current appointment. I am interested in the statistical and computational foundations of intelligence, and works on scalable machine learning, probabilistic models, Bayesian nonparametrics and deep learning. I was programme co-chair of ICML 2017 and AISTATS 2010.

Leonid Chindelevitch (Simon Fraser University)
Yarin Gal (University of Oxford)

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