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FGCU Conducting Virus Outbreak Simulation

FGCU Operation Outbreak1.jpg

Beginning Thursday, October 29 at 8:00 a.m. a weeklong virus simulation will begin at Florida Gulf Coast University that uses smartphones and Bluetooth wireless technology.

Volunteers will install an app and leave it running for one week, with their Bluetooth turned on. Over that time data will be collected on which participants come into contact with others who are part of the simulation, a certain number of which start off as ‘infected’. The Operation Outbreak app was created by the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Sarasota Military Academy.

The idea is to better understand people’s behavior and how viruses can spread to help model how outbreaks in the real world might unfold. This simulation is particularly looking at how SARS-CoV2 — the novel coronavirus — might interact with the annual flu.

We learn more about the simulation with Dr. Sharon Isern, Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at FGCU and a virologist.

The focus is on people who are at or around FGCU, but anyone can participate by installing the Operation Outbreak app on their phone and entering the code 'fgcu' (all lower case). The simulation will conclude on Thursday, November 5, at 11:59 p.m.

Mike Kiniry is producer of Gulf Coast Live, and co-creator and host of the WGCU podcast Three Song Stories: Biography Through Music. He first joined the WGCU team in the summer of 2003 as an intern while studying Communication at Florida Gulf Coast University.
Julie Glenn is the News Director and the host of Gulf Coast Live. She joined the WGCU team in November of 2016 to expand the Gulf Coast Live call-in radio show from once a week to five days a week. Since then, the show has been recognized in state and regional competitions and has featured artists, political leaders, historians, environmental experts, doctors, local reporters, and national and international scholars. After leading the station's award-winning coverage of Hurricane Irma in September of 2017, Julie was named Interim News Director. In January of 2018, she launched WGCU's first podcast: Grape Minds.