Points of Significance

Uncertainty and the management of epidemics

“I have no idea what’s awaiting me, or what will happen when this all ends. For the moment I know this: there are sick people and they need curing.” ―Albert Camus, The Plague

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1: The effect of R0, and immunity duration on disease burden and trajectory.
Fig. 2: Quantifying parametric uncertainty and decisions.


  1. 1.

    Bjørnstad, O. N., Shea, K., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. Nat. Methods 17, 455–456 (2020).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Bjørnstad, O. N., Shea, K., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. Nat. Methods 17, 557–558 (2020).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Shea, K., Tildesley, M. J., Runge, M. C., Fonnesbeck, C. J. & Ferrari, M. J. PLoS Biol. 12, e1001970 (2014).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Shea, K. et al. Science 368, 577–579 (2020).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Martin Krzywinski.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Shea, K., Bjørnstad, O.N., Krzywinski, M. et al. Uncertainty and the management of epidemics. Nat Methods 17, 867–868 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41592-020-0943-4

Download citation


Quick links

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter for a daily update on COVID-19 science.
Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing