COPSS-NISS COVID-19 Data Science Webinar Series

Thursday, March 4, 2021 12-1pm ET (9-10am PT)

Predictions, Role of Interventions and the Crisis of Virus in India: A Data Science Call to Arms

About this Webinar Series

The COPSS-NISS COVID-19 Data Science webinar series is co-organized by the Committee of the Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS) and its five charter member societies (ASAENARIMSSSC, and WNAR), as well as NISS.  This bi-weekly seminar features the latest research that is positioned on the cusp of new understanding and analysis of COVID-19 pandemic data, and promotes data-driven research and decision making to combat COVID-19. Find out more about this series and view all the previous sessions on the Webinar Series page.


India, the world's largest democracy with 1.38 billion people, underwent five phases of national lockdown from March 25-June 30, 2020 and several phases of unlocking since then. The virus curve has turned the corner from late September of 2020 without a second resurgence in the Winter. Normalcy has returned to the life of  Indian people and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine (called COVISHIELD in India) is being used for vaccination nationwide. Several hypotheses are postulated for this miraculous recovery of India including  that of herd immunity. In this presentation, we provide a brief chronicle of the modeling experience of our study team over the last one year trying to understand the pandemic in India.  We discuss methodological innovations by incorporating selective and imperfect viral testing when using case-counts in an extended SEIR model for COVID-19. We use this model to estimate the true infection fatality rate in India. We present our (incomplete) understanding of what helped India to effectively battle this public health crisis in a low-resource setting. This is joint work with many, with all supporting research materials and products available at



Bhramar Mukherjee, (University of Michigan)

Bhramar Mukherjee is John D. Kalbfleisch Collegiate Professor and Chair, Department of Biostatistics; Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Professor, Global Public Health, University of Michigan (UM) School of Public Health;  Research Professor and Core Faculty Member, Michigan Institute of Data Science (MIDAS), University of Michigan. She also serves as the Associate Director for Quantitative Data Sciences, University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center. She is the cohort development core co-director in the University of Michigan’s institution-wide Precision Health Initiative. Her research interests include statistical methods for analysis of electronic health records, studies of gene-environment interaction, Bayesian methods, shrinkage estimation, analysis of multiple pollutants. Bhramar is a fellow of the American Statistical Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  She is the recipient of many awards for her scholarship, service and teaching at the University of Michigan and beyond.

Moderator and Session Organizer

Lili Zhao, (University of Michigan)

Lili Zhao is a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Biostatistics. She received her PhD in Statistics from the University of Iowa in 2006 and joined the Department of Biostatistics in 2011 as a faculty member.  She has collaborated with researchers in disease areas, including Cancer, Cardiology, Cirrhosis, Neurology, Infectious Diseases, and Diabetes. As a Principal Investigator on a NIH-funded study, her current research focuses on developing, translating and promoting the use of innovative statistical methodologies in investigating safety of COVID-19 vaccines.

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Organizing Committee

Xihong Lin (Chair) (IMS), Harvard University 
Karen Bandeen-Roche (NISS), Johns Hopkins University 
Chris Barker (ASA), Statistical Planning and Analysis Services, Inc
Gary Chan (WNAR), University of Washington 
Rob Deardon (SSC), University of Calgary 
Natalie Dean (COPSS), University of Florida
Debashree Ray (COPSS), Johns Hopkins University
Jie Peng (WNAR), University of California at Davis 
Nathaniel Stevens (SSC), University of Waterloo 
Elizabeth Stuart (ENAR), Johns Hopkins University 
Ryan Tibshirani (IMS), Carnegie Mellon University  
Lily Wang (ASA), Iowa State University 
Lingzhou Xue (NISS), Pennsylvania State University
Lili Zhao (ENAR), University of Michigan 
Glenn Johnson (Web Communications), NISS

Event Type


National Institute of Statistical Sciences


ASA Section on Statistical Computing
Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS)
Eastern North American Region of the International Biometric Society
Institute of Mathematical Statistics
National Institute of Statistical Sciences
Statistical Society of Canada
Western North American Region of The International Biometric Society


Registration is free.


Online Webinar
Moderator: Lili Zhao (University of Michigan), Speaker: Bhramar Mukherjee (University of Michigan).