Forecasts for the end of the COVID-19 epidemics similar to Singapore lab’s

Between March 17th and 20th, using my former scientist’s PhD knowledge, I started making forecasts, with graphs, of when the COVID-19 would end for the main European countries and the UK. The shot was a long one, and the forecasts sent in a private email to colleagues. At the time the government announced a minimum ’12 weeks’ epidemic. Hence until at least June 17, with statements that it may last over six months to 2021.

With data consolidating from March 30, I took the risk to make my previsions public on LINKEDIN (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/update-previous-coronavirus-covid19-reports-analysis-de-vartavan/) forecasting the end of the UK epidemic between April 30 and May 6 +/-. In another April 21 report, I also calculated, among others, the end of the Italian epidemic around May 6 +/-.: (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/now-witnessing-end-coronavirus-epidemic-central-christian-de-vartavan/). The aim is to provide intelligence to UK companies of when to prepare to exit the costly lockdown and hence reduce at soon as possible its economic damages. I suggested May 1 to start preparing and still do. 

Yesterday Prof. Didier Raoult, director of the 1000 staff Méditerranée Infection Institute in Marseilles (France) made on YouTube an update video on COVID-19 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcvDi6tjldk). In the course of the video, Prof. Raoult revealed graphs made by mathematicians of the multiple awards winning Data-Driven Innovation Lab in Singapore, led by former MIT graduate Prof. Jianxi Luo (https://ddi.sutd.edu.sg/sutd-data-driven-innovation-lab), of which I was unaware. 

The Singapore lab’s calculated date for the end of the epidemic in Italy is currently May 9 +/- when mine is May 6 +/-, so identical. Moreover, for the end of the UK epidemic May 17 +/-, when mine is April 30 to May 6 +/-. (https://ddi.sutd.edu.sg/when-will-covid-19-end), although I have perhaps been a bit short there. 

It is usually good science when similar results are obtained independently. We shall soon see how correct these forecasts are. What is already certain is that the curves obtained separately by Singapore and myself allow to frame the cycle of the virus, which in every country rises to a sharp peak and falls relatively quickly, in a pyramidal shape. 

As to why scientists advising government did not define this cycle earlier, or made it available to the public, perhaps avoiding much anxiety for the British public, I leave it to others to find out?

 

* Christian de Vartavan is an eminent scholar and now CEO of a London blockchain consulting company.

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15 Comments

  • Tony Greaves 29th Apr '20 - 4:16pm

    How do you define “the end of the epidemic”?

  • I’m afraid that without methodology presented, research is useless, especially from an author with no prior experience in the field and when the results are published via LinkedIn and a political blog.

    Epidemiological modelling is extremely complex and involves a multitude of factors. It’s not really something that can be accurately done by amateurs. You’re evidence that it works seems to be that you have predicted something to happen in 7 days when experts have predicted 10 days.

    The methodology you have used could be perfectly scientific and accurate, for all I know. But without presenting the methodology, this is not science.

  • John Marriott 29th Apr '20 - 7:23pm

    This isn’t like turning off a tap. Pandora’s box has been well and truly opened. You can clearly contain this virus by a combination of lockdown and aggressive testing. However, slacken off either and it will return. Look at Japan and now apparently Germany.

    Until an effective vaccine can be found none of us will be safe. Some may have mild symptoms while some, for whatever reason, will become seriously ill. There is no proof that, once you’ve had it, you can’t get it again. Compare what happened to Messrs Hancock and Whitty with what happened to Boris Johnson, as it’s quite likely that they were all infected at about the same time, probably at that infamous COBRA meeting in March.

    Treating the symptoms may be a route we should be urgently investigating. Ruling out Lysol and Dettol for obvious reasons (sorry Mr Trump) it’s encouraging that, around the world, teams are trying out a variety of existing drugs to see if they are efficacious.

  • “Compare what happened to Messrs Hancock and Whitty with what happened to Boris Johnson, as it’s quite likely that they were all infected at about the same time, probably at that infamous COBRA meeting in March.”

    The virus likes people who are overweight (always exceptions), so Boris’s fall was kinda predictable out of those three. For serious complications, the virus likes age, race, gender and mass (with small numbers of exceptions). The govn always stonewalls, fearing riots from the most at risk?

  • Peter Martin 30th Apr '20 - 12:27pm

    “Moreover, for the end of the UK epidemic May 17 +/-, when mine is April 30 to May 6 +/-” ?????

    I don’t know why I’m bothering to reply to this, but any forecast that the UK epidemic will end today or even in the next week or two is clearly wrong!

    Yes, we’ve succeeded in slowing down the spread the virus but that’s not the end of it. Nowhere near. Once the lock-down is eased………..

  • Christian de Vartavan 4th May '20 - 3:45pm

    As I said I may have been short for the end of the epidemic in the UK. My forecast for Italy – May 6th +/- – comes true today (May 4th) as not only lockdown ends there but 4.4 million workers went back tis morning to their factories. See my today new Linkedin article here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/forecasted-end-covid19-epidemic-lockdowns-across-de-vartavan/

  • David Allen 4th May '20 - 5:19pm

    My methodology is not complex, but I’m prepared to reveal it all.

    The BBC publish a rolling average death rate for the UK, which peaked around 14th April at about 950, and has now fallen slowly to about 650, three weeks later. Loads of virus still around. R ratio clearly not far below 1. Every chance that a relaxation will just send the death rate back up again. Far too many people dying.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51768274

    The BBC also publish figures for France, Spain and Italy – who have got their death rates down to 135, 164 and 174 respectively.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-52524001

    Our neighbours have worked hard to get rid of the virus and have been relatively successful. They can think about easing the lockdown. Our own Government has dithered, bungled, and failed to get rid of the virus. We would be crazy to lift our lockdown.

  • Christian de Vartavan 21st May '20 - 4:28pm

    Today (May 21st) Oxford University, through the Daily Telegraph and other newspapers, announces that the Covid19 epidemic is fading with zero deaths in six of London’s major hospitals. Whereas no people were tested positive in London on Monday 18th and very few people since then. I think it reasonable to say that like for Italy the forecast was correct.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/05/20/culture-secretary-rules-regional-variation-easing-lockdown-covid/
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/05/20/pmqs-uk-recession-coronavirus-lockdown-boris-johnson-news/

  • Peter Martin 21st May '20 - 4:57pm

    @ Christian de Vartavan,

    The figure for deaths, and to some extent new cases too, are a reflection of what was happening when the UK was in full lockdown.

    It’s far too soon to say “the forecast was correct”.

    We don’t know how many people in the community have any immunity. It’s unlikely to be more than 5%. With 95% of the population unprotected there are plenty more targets for the virus.

  • Christian de Vartavan 1st Jun '20 - 2:39pm

    No Covid-19 deaths for 48 hours [hence since May 30th] at 11 hospitals in London: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.standard.co.uk/news/london/no-covid-deaths-for-48-hours-at-11-hospitals-a4456316.html%3famp

  • Peter Martin 1st Jun '20 - 4:46pm

    @ Christian,

    There are 96 NHS hospitals, plus quite a number of private ones too, in London so what about the other 85?

    The reduced number of deaths we are seeing now reflects the number of new infections of a couple of weeks ago when we were still in tighter lockdown.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:NHS_hospitals_in_London

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