This paper introduces a simple, frequently and easily updated, close to the data epidemiological model that has been used for near-term forecast and policy analysis. We provide several practical examples of how the model has been used. We explain the epidemic development in the UK, the USA and Brazil through the model lens. Moreover, we show how our model would have predicted that a super infectious variant, such as the delta, would spread and argue that current vaccination levels in many countries are not enough to curb other waves of infections in the future. Finally, we briefly discuss the importance of how to model re-infections in epidemiological models.