COVID-19 Resource Page

We will collect resources here produced by SDS members and others that provide a systems view on the COVID-19 pandemic. Please email [email protected] to suggest additions.

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For a lively ongoing debate about Coronavirus:  Join the System Dynamics Society Discussion Group
On March 13, Professor John Sterman of the MIT Sloan School of Management
System Dynamics Research Papers on Covid-19

The Allen Institute for AI, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET), Microsoft, and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health released the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset of scholarly literature about COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, and the Coronavirus group.  This CORD-19 resource is available on the Allen Institute’s website and will be continually updated.

Online Learning Resources for Children 

We offer these well developed resources for K-12 education.  These include epidemic models.  Please be mindful of your child's (and your own) social-emotional health when using them.

The Creative Learning Exchange has an epidemic simulation for children from their Shape of Change series.  They also offer Splash, a fun online simulation program for children, and many other free online curriculums for teachers and parents that offer an opportunity for children to learn Systems Thinking and System Dynamics Modeling.  One fun one is The Soda Game.

The Waters Center for Systems Thinking also offers a number of resources for parents seeking enrichment for their children.  One popular choice is the Thinking Tools Studio.  They are also about to publish a series of short one-page Padlet lessons for for young children that introduce developmentally appropriate activities that promote thinking, executive functioning development and social emotional learning.


For older children and college students with too much time on their hands, we recommend Climate Interactive's Climate Leader which teaches fundamental principles of Systems Thinking as they apply to climate.  Their Climate Simulator is used by members of Congress and their Climate Simulator Training Plan can turn your children into Ambassadors.


We also recommend this good graphical lesson on exponential growth without a model.  You might also find this real time set of data with graphs over time overall and by country interesting to compare to the exponential curve.



Lessons on Hoarding

Bloomberg News feature "How the Beer Game Helps Retailers Solve Toilet Paper Crisis".

In 2015, members Gokhan Dogan and John Sterman published a system dynamics analysis of hoarding and phantom ordering behavior in an experimental beer game. The paper, I’m not hoarding, I’m just stocking up before the hoarders get here”, appeared in the Journal of Operations Management. The headlines about hoarding and shortages of toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and food this week have made this work highly topical. Interestingly, the JOM agrees, and has made it open access on their website.  


Thought Provoking Article by Otto Scharmer

 Otto Scharmer of the Presenting Institute  and Theory U offers these eight emerging lessons on the coronavirus.



isee system's COVID-19 Simulator

Trying to make sense of the conflicting information on COVID-19? Sponsor isee systems created a COVID-19 Simulator that examines current assumptions and policies in place to reduce its spread. This interactive tool allows you to explore the implications of disease’ uncertainties including distribution of severity levels, adjust contact rates, and mortality. You can then take a closer look at the mitigating policies to explore the effectiveness of quarantining and testing.   We hope this simulation will help build an understanding of both how the disease spreads and why interventions don’t always work as we expect.  Here is a work-in-progress webinar update on the use of the simulator during a Worcester Polytechnic Institute SD Club's Collective Learning Meetings.

Member Jeroen Struben's COVID-19 Simulator

Society member Jeroen Struben at EMYLON Business School is doing great work examining COVID-19 infection dynamics around the globe. Explore for yourself using his simulator published in forio.  This user-friendly simulator enables users to explore the impact of government and citizen responses and how they alter the course of the pandemic outbreak. The purpose of this accessible simulator is to allow the end-user to examine when an outbreak is more likely to escalate into an epidemic and to explore how responsiveness to the virus alters the outbreak path.

Tom Fiddaman's COVID-19 Video, Simulator, Modeling Tutorial, and Blog

Policy Council member Tom Fiddaman of Ventana Systems offers a video walkthrough of simple epidemic model for his community in Bozeman, MT facing a coronavirus outbreak. It can be modified to fit any community and shows the importance of an early, robust, multi-pronged approach to reducing infections. Because it’s simple, it can easily be adapted for other locations.  You can also access the model to run simulations of your own and use their epidemic modeling tutorial to create your own simulator.  You can also follow Tom's Meta-SD Blog for new posts.


Tim Clancy's Blog:  The InfoMullet

Timothy Clancy of Worcester Polytech Institute (WPI) runs The InfoMullet. The Innfomullet isn't a “system dynamics” blog, but provides context on complex topics that matter to readers informed by system dynamics and systems thinking. The InfoMullet’s coverage of novel viruses began in early January and shifted to COVID-19 in late January. This coverage has broadened from education and awareness to equipping activists and advocates with insights and resources to help spur government action ranging from local firefighter teams in Iowa to the 2nd largest newspaper in Bangladesh trying to move the government to begin testing.

The InfoMullet on Facebook hosts discussion and shares system dynamic articles making them relevant to the audience. Twice a week, on Wednesday at 1pm EST and Saturday at 6pm EST,  Timothy hosts an hour-long live ask me anything on Facebook. These sessions consist of updates and education on COVID-19 breaking down concepts of system dynamics in a way everyone can understand and answering audience questions.  Examples of past sessions can be found on the InfoMullet YouTube Playlist.

Last Saturday the InfoMullet began a four-part series documenting March 21st – March 31st. Each post provides a forecast and perspective to help equip readers for this crucial period when when the United States, and the world, tips over to the first wave of COVID-19. From the failure to contain COVID-19 and flatten the curve in the US; to a 3-month forecast on the economic impact of COVID-19;  a forecast on how crime and violence might alter in the wake of COVID-19; and finally how we prepare for recovery and restoration in the wake of the first wave.


Jack Homer's COVID Modelling

Tom Fiddaman shares a model by Policy Council member Jack Homer of Homer Consulting in his meta-sd blog, "A model of COVID-19 in the US with endogenous testing, containment measures, and social distancing."



The Center for Policy Exploration, Analysis and Simulation (PEAS Center), has published a COVID19 simulation page. From March 24 onward, they will publish simulation studies related to COVID-19. Note that this resource is a work in progress. The PEAS Center is specialized in modelling complex issues and simulation under deep uncertainty. Review their first studies; WHY STRONG SOCIAL DISTANCING? and WHAT IF NEW SCIENTIST IS RIGHT? AND COULD THE RIVM BE RIGHT?

Online Courses

FREE Systems Thinking in Public Health Coursera course by David Bishai, MD, PhD, and Ligia Paina, PhD at John Hopkins University

System Science 410/510: Modeling Pandemics by Joe Fusion and Wayne Wakeland at Portland State University starting Friday 4/30/2020 from noon -1:50pm

Other Simulation Results of Notes

Data shows coronavirus can only be controlled if 8 out of 10 Australians stay home by Catherine Hanrahan, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, March 24, 2020

Without Urgent Action, Coronavirus Could Overwhelm U.S., Estimates Say by James GlanzLauren LeatherbyMatthew BlochMitch SmithLarry BuchananJin Wu and March 20, 2020