Headline, January 08 2021/ ''' '' GAME VACCINATION : GASP '' ''' : MANKIND



EACH INDIVIDUAL HAS CHOICES : - but the payoff for each choice depends on choices made by others.

TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS : The origins of game theory can be found in the 1944 book ''Theory of Games and Economic Behavior,'' by the mathematician John von Neumann and the economist Oskar Morgenstern.

The applications range from evolution to psychology to computer science, there's even a book called ''The Game Theorist's Guide to Parenting.''

''THE PANDEMIC is a prisoner's dilemma game played out repeatedly,'' Dr. Bauch said. in lectures, he invokes a comparison between Ayn Rand, who made a virtue of selfishness, and the ''Star Trek'' character Spock, who said, ''The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.''

MADHUR ANAND - AN ECOLOGIST AND HER HUSBAND - Chris Bauch, a mathematical biologist, were optimally situated during the spring lockdown, working-

from home in Guelph, Ontario, to watch the pandemic playout - and to discuss patterns of behavior, within their community and beyond, as well tried to keep safe and carry on.

Their office at home are separated only by a wall, rather than a 45-minute drive. Dr. Anand is the director of the new Guelph Institute for Environmental Research at the University of Guelph, and Dr. Bauch runs a lab at the University of Waterloo.

The couple's collaborative research usually focuses on the interplay between human behavior and environmental systems - for instance, with pollution, deforestation and climate change. Whereas those dynamics unfold slowly the pandemic provided an acute example of rapid change.

''Societal change is not the kind of thing you can easily experiment with,'' Dr. Anand said .''But here we were in the middle of a huge social experiment.''

Like many scientists, they redirected their research to Covid-19. The resulting study led by their doctoral student Peter Jentsch and currently under peer review, looked at vaccination prioritization : To save the most lives, we should get the vaccine first.

As infectious diseases studies go, their methodology was somewhat atypical because of applied game theory's mathematical way of modeling how people make strategic decisions within a group. Each individual has choices, but the payoff for each chance depends on choices made by others.

This is what's called a ''prisoner's dilemma game'' - players weight cooperation against betrayal, often producing a less than optimal outcome for the common good.

The pandemic presents an everyday complexity of such choices. Imagine, Dr. Bauch said, if everyone followed public health recommendations : They wore masks, socially distanced, washed their hands, followed stay-at-home orders. ''In that case there is a significantly reduced risk of infection.'' he said.

But there are always trade-offs and temptations to defect from the regimen. Masks are annoying. Hand washing is tedious. You need a hug.

Now the vaccine adds one more protective layer. The perceived benefit and costs of vaccination are often expressed as concerns about safety and side effects. If you are on the fence about vaccination, you might decide - noticing lower infection rates as vaccination campaigns gain speed - that it no longer seems so critical to get the jab.

''Some people might play a wait-and-see game,'' Dr. Bauch said. People who choose not to be vaccinated effectively get a free ride, reaping the benefits of reduced virus transmission generated by the people who do opt for vaccination. But the free rides generate a collective threat.

''That is the prisoner's dilemma,'' Dr. Bauch said. ''When infection levels are low, people feel less at risk, let down their guard, and then infection levels again rise; the ebb and flow between our behavior and the virus causes the pandemic waves.

''We end up in this unhappy medium,'' he said.

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Pandemic, Vaccination and Game Theory, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Siobhan Roberts.

With respectful dedication to the Theorists, Scientists, Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

''' People - Powers '''

Good Night and God Bless

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