A Vaccination Simulation

During some rare spare time, I began to think. When discussing vaccination, proponents like to point out how Herd Immunity helps those who can’t vaccinate. I wondered if there was some visual way of showing it. (I know Penn and Teller did a video recently, but I haven’t watched it yet.) For some reason, one of my old computer programming assignments, The Game of Life, came to mind.

The Game of Life is a simulation where each square represents one "cell" of life. The cells will multiply or die based on certain rules. They might blossom into a vast colony, die on the vine, or even move around the board (spawning new cells in the front and having old ones dying off behind).

I resolved to make a Vaccination Game of Life or, for a more descriptive and catchy name, a Vaccination Simulation. Fast forward through some programming, testing, great advice from Phil Plait (thanks, Phil!) and here it is: http://www.techydad.com/Vaccinate/

Just set some parameters like how deadly the virus should be, vaccinate some people and then let loose the plague. Will all of your people die? Will some recover? Will the virus spread to everyone or fizzle out? Will Herd Immunity protect the unvaccinated?

What about Herd Immunity? I had set out to test this and test it I did. I ran 5 different scenarios: a 0% vaccination rate, a 25% vaccination rate, a 50% vaccination rate, a 75% vaccination rate and a 90% vaccination rate. For each scenario, I ran the simulator 3 times and took the average number of dead and recovered. Then, I figured out the death rate (defined here as Number Who Died / Number Who Got Sick).

Here are the results:


Note that the Death Rate (on the chart labeled as "% Non-Vacc Died") declined as the vaccination rate rose. For the more visual, here it is in graph format.


What does this mean in human terms? Let’s take 5 people and put them in 5 different communities. For whatever reason, these 5 people can’t recieve the vaccination for The Virus. The person in the 0% vaccination group would stand an 80% chance of dying. The person in the 25% group would stand a 76.44% chance. And so on to the person in the 90% vaccination group who would only stand a 13.33% chance of dying. The people have the same immunity, but the vaccinated people around them reduces the spread of the virus and makes it less likely that they’ll contract it. Less likelihood of contracting the virus means less likelihood of dying from it. Herd Immunity in action.

Now go off and enjoy Vaccination Simulation for yourself whether to educate or just to mercilously kill a hundred square representations of people.

Just Call Me Carl Fredricksen

carl_fredricksen.jpgAt work today, I felt pretty stressed out. A deadline was looming and a server was just not cooperating. As I walked out of my office, at around 1:15 PM, I suddenly felt a sharp stabbing pain in my upper back and neck. I could feel all of my muscles in there spasming.

Now, I’ve had muscle spasms before. I get them from time to time, mostly due to stress and mostly limited to the muscles under my right shoulder blade. (Don’t ask why it is that specific, but it is.) This was different, though. Instead of moderate pain, this was extreme pain and instead of being limited, it was much wider in scope.

I stayed still for a few minutes, hoping it would pass, but no such luck. So I slowly made my way to my bag where I was sure I had some advil. More bad luck. No advil. I searched through all of my desk drawers and bag pockets but couldn’t find a single pain reliever. I asked around and no coworkers had any. Finally, one of my coworkers had some and I took it hoping for some relief. By now, the spasms had lasted almost an hour.

I spent the rest of the day feeling like an old man. I shuffled back and forth slowly. I thought ahead before opening any door to plan out the least painful way of doing it. I winced upon getting up and sitting down. I even felt hunched over as my tightened, still slightly spasming muscles refused to let me stand up straight.

Later that night, JSL demanded to see Up on Roku / Netflix. We watched (well, I watched while JSL ran around playing) as Carl Fredicksen fought hard to get his house to Paradise Falls. I’ve often found that I’ll get so engrossed in a movie and identify so much with a character that I feel like that character after the movie is over.

Can you see where I’m going with this? Yes, I found that I had identified with Carl. I even found myself reaching for my cane once or twice before my arm realized that I don’t use one. I’m only in my mid thirties. I shouldn’t be feeling like this.

I tried consulting a medical expert… and by that I mean JSL, who upon hearing of my pain, grabbed his stethoscope and said “Dada, me gonna be doctor!” That didn’t help. So here I sit with JSL typing up this post and trying to ignore the pain in my neck and back. After JSL goes to sleep, I’ll try a nice, hot shower to see if that’ll relax the muscles. If not, maybe a good night’s sleep will do it. Worst case scenario, I’ll find a cane with some tennis balls on it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to yell at some kids to get off my lawn. Annoying whippersnappers!

Project New Me: Week #20 or The Final Weigh In #newme

Weight: 188 lbs (up 1 pound)

Average Hours of Sleep: 6.2 hours

Total Workout Time: 0

Total Calories Burned: 0

This past week brought an unexpected challenge: The Jewish Holiday of Shavuot. I forgot that during the holiday I wouldn’t be able to write down my points. Usually on Saturdays (when I also can’t write), I just keep track in my head. That works fine for 1 day, but 2 days is too much. I’m quite sure that I would up eating too many points on those days which hindered my ability to shed pounds gained from JSL’s birthday party. Still, I only gained a single pound which isn’t too bad.

With this weigh-in, I bring my 20 Pounds in 20 Weeks challenge to a close. While I didn’t end at or under my goal, I’m not going to count that as losing the challenge. First of all, it’s just one pound. I lost 19 pounds over the past 20 weeks. I can’t see calling those 19 lost pounds a “loss” because one additional pound didn’t drop off. Secondly, I actually hit my goal weight twice. And lastly, well, it is my challenge against myself so why *can’t* I declare myself a victor? 😉

Next week, I’ll look back over my weigh in and sleep figures and that will be my last Project New Me post.

Project New Me: Week #19 or The Penultimate Weigh In #newme

Weight: 187 lbs (down 1.5 pounds)

Average Hours of Sleep: 5.4 hours

Total Workout Time: 0

Total Calories Burned: 0

Yesterday’s weigh in brought a pleasent surprise. I was at my goal weight. This was a surprise because my parents were in town for JSL’s party and I had eaten some less-than-perfect-for-me foods while we went out to eat. I don’t think I overdid it, but those foods could have easily packed on an extra pound. Instead, my metabolism seems to be able to withstand a day or so of overeating. (I overdid it at JSL’s party yesterday also and did an unofficial weigh in this morning to find myself at 187.5 pounds.) Of course, eating like that continually will lead to trouble, in the form of packed on pounds, but it is nice to know that my body is at the point where I don’t need to worry about the occassional stray into fattening foods.

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