All Models are wrong while some are useful.
The most useful models are the ones that work with limited and imperfect data and at a time of crisis when unbiased points of view are needed. Particularly when there is misinformation and sensationalism every where. The Covid19 pandemic is unlike anything we have seen before in our lifetime.
Previously we heard some extreme statements from politicians, the CDC and the state Governments:
- California could have about 25.5 Million cases in two months - Prediction from State of California
- We will be out of Hospital beds and ICU beds when we reach the Peak in New York and other states. The death toll from this pandemic could be between 100k and 240K in the United States - Statement by Dr. Fauci and the CDC models
- US may never get back to 'normal' after Coronavirus crisis - Most recent claim by Dr. Fauci
Interestingly, all of the above may turn out to be 100% wrong.
In a previous article we tried to model the extreme case presented by the Government in (2) above to see if this is even possible assuming we do nothing. See that article
In this article, I want to present the most recent data and results from our model (or "informed opinion") based on the most likely scenario. We have run the models for thirty+ countries and all 50+ states. Data is sparse for some countries and states but our findings for the majority of them are pretty robust.
The United States will hit the Covid19 Peak this week between April 7th and 9th and we will top out at about 35K cases. Using the results from our state by state models, the State of New York has already crossed its peak on April 4th which was this past weekend. Using a definition of less than 100 new daily cases as Contagion free, we identified a specific date as contagion free for every country.
However this is not a medical definition. I think there could be an algorithm developed based on number of recoveries versus newly infected to define what contagion free would look like. Any suggestions would be helpful. I simply don't buy the idea of a geographical region having to infect 50% of the population that is subsequently cured to get to herd immunity.
Our prediction is for the State of New York to have a cumulative of about 200K cases when this pandemic runs its course by the end of this month. We estimate about 800K cases for the US in total. There are a few caveats with this estimate - we assume and hope that Detroit and Chicago do not become another New York City.
Assuming the social distancing is continued for the next three weeks, the US may be able to come in below the 800K cumulative cases. Currently the mortality rate is about 2.86% of the total cases in the US. Even if assume the rate goes up to 5%, this will be about 40K casualties from this pandemic. With the anti-viral drugs being distributed to hospitals across the country (assuming it is happening now), we may be able to control this even better.
I welcome any of the forecasters to challenge these estimates and make a projection for the total number of cases and casualties. The CDC estimates and models and their extreme projects perhaps are intended to warn the public of potential dangers.
Here are some projections for peak dates and the new cases at peak for selected countries along with dates when the region becomes contagion free. I am unsure if this contagion free dates mean we can go out and freely party. However this is the date when the new cases drop below one hundred.
As you can see, some of the countries have already hit the peak. Italy, Spain, Switzerland and even Germany have crossed the peak. We model France to hit its peak in a couple of days and the cases should come down after this.
The data from the UK is explosive and we cannot estimate the peak and the number of new cases. Stay tuned for model updates in our blog http://www.forecastingblog.com/.
Any projection that throws out extremely scary estimates have to be taken with a grain of salt. I believe and hope the actual results may surprise us and we could do better than the above projections. Looking at my previous article on the same topic, I realize the actual results for Spain and Switzerland came pretty close to our original estimates. See https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/covid19-novel-corona-virus-peak-occurrence-country-mark-chockalingam/.
Interesting fact is how Germany has handled this epidemic. Germany peaked April 2nd, a lot better than our projections of mid-April peak. Germany has one of the lowest mortality rates among the European countries at less than 2% while Italy, France and Spain all had averaged about 10%.
We have used data from Johns Hopkins and from several Government archives. We will be happy to provide model results by state and countries for use by the CDC or public health organizations if you need an unbiased forecast driven by analytics.
Stay Safe! Be Well!
Let us fight this unknown enemy and win the war soon! I can't wait to get out, drink some Corona beer and enjoy the spring........