When will the coronavirus pandemic end? Here is a forecast from Singapore4. May 2020
When will the coronavirus pandemic end? Here is a forecast from Singapore
Researchers at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) fed the mathematical model SIR with data on confirmed infections, tests performed and registered deaths to estimate the life cycle of COVID-19. Answer: The pandemic will end in December this year. However, it is estimated that the end date could vary greatly from country to country – from June in Australia to October in Italy.
According to the researchers, history shows that the development of pandemics is not complete. They follow a life cycle that begins with the outbreak, accelerates to a peak of infection and then slows down until the pandemic dies down. All these stages are influenced by government policy and individual measures in each country – as well as by the situation before the outbreak.
This convinced the SUTD team that data science can predict the life cycle of the coronavirus. But first they had to collect a lot of data. They found this information in a COVID-19 data set compiled by Our World in Data, a research organization that studies the world’s biggest problems.
The data set consists of confirmed cases and deaths collected by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, and test statistics published in official reports. The team then ran these data through their mathematical model to predict how many people will be infected in the future.
The researchers link the publication to a number of warnings: 1. It should be noted that both the model and the data cannot accurately capture the complexity and dynamics of the disease. ( Nevertheless, the researchers believe that the predictions can support proactive planning that prevents starting the lockdown too late or easing restrictions too early).
2. Stress that their predictions must be treated with caution. Over-optimism could lead to premature relaxation of individual discipline and government restrictions, thus spreading the pandemic. They point out that the accuracy of their model depends on the quality of the data, which are often unreliable and are reported differently around the world.
3. they also point out that the model cannot predict the impact of political decisions. For example, Singapore’s move to extend the freezing measures could bend the curve earlier than predicted, while the early loosening of social distance in the US could delay the end of the pandemic.
Moreover, the predictions will be less useful for countries in the early stages of the pandemic, as they will only have data for a small part of the pandemic life cycle.