COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a recently discovered, novel coronavirus, SARS-COV2. The disease has led to over 455 million cases, with over 6 million deaths worldwide. In any pandemic, the risk of infection is driven by people's perception of risk of the infection. A number of factors drive public perception of disease risk, these include peoples’ beliefs, knowledge, and information about a disease. In this seminar, I will present two different models for COVID-19 that explore peoples' behavior and their sentiments about the disease in the early period of the pandemic.

In the first model I use game theory and appropriate payoff functions relating to the perception of risk measured using disease incidence and severity of infection to account for a series of human behaviors. Which leads to a complex interplay between the epidemiological model, that affects success of different strategies, and the game-theoretic behavioral model, which in turn affects the spread of the disease. In the second model I use tweets from Twitter to account for peoples' sentiments about the disease. It also takes into account negative sentiments driven by misinformation.

The results from these models shows that rational behavior of susceptible individuals can lead to multiple waves of infections; these multiple waves are possible if the rate of social learning of infected individuals is sufficiently high. To reduce the burden of the disease in the community, it is necessary to ensure positive sentiments and feelings, and to incentivize altruistic behavior by infected individuals such as voluntary self-isolation.

Bio:  I'm a trained applied mathematician based in the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas.

I received my PhD. in Mathematics from the University of Ilorin in Nigeria. 

My work focuses on designing novel models to gain insight on the emergence and re-emergence of infectious diseases of public health importance and how to mitigate the risks they pose to human health. 

I've designed and analyzed novel models for diseases like Ebola, avian influenza, bovine tuberculosis, Johnes disease, toxplasmagondii, Chikungunya, and malaria. My current works are on modeling tick-borne disease across the Great Plains and understanding the role of human behavior on the transmission of COVID-19. 

I'm also involved in capacity building across West Africa by organizing summer schools in mathematical epidemiology and ecology. I have organized summer schools in Benin, Senegal, and Nigeria, and currently seeking funds for a school in Ghana for 2022 Summer.