Sunday, March 8, 2020

COVID19 - A near real time road map of where we are now

COVID-19 test kit
Lack of testing for high risk individuals is hampering an effective response
A Los Angeles Times article highlighted the shortcomings of the administration's response or lack of it from the perspective of testing for coronavirus or 2019-nCoV (COVID-19).

As anyone with decision making authority would know, the timely remediation of any crisis regardless of scale can only be efficiently carried out following a decision based on facts, and the effectiveness of the accompanying response is in turn dependent on reliable information and sound data. So what tools are currently available to decision makers right now?

Near real time tracking of COVID-19

The Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) recently built an online dashboard based on the following data sources:
According to Dr Lauren Gardner, professor at CSSE, the data visualization was developed as a public service so that everyone can have an updated understanding of the unfolding outbreak situation, Dīng Xiāng Yuán was included as it provides "more timely assessments of the outbreak, compared to the national level reporting organizations, which take longer to filter up".

COVID-19 Dashboards

Interpreting the data

Based on the data collected as of March 8th 2020, it can be observed that reported cases seem to be starting to plateau, at least in China,

Historical chart of COVID-19 cases
COVID-19 cases as of March 8th 2020 since inception
Inspecting the last 2 data points for COVID-19 cases outside of China, one could be led to believe that the same is happening globally; that the situation is stabilizing. However, this is unlikely the case,

Things are probably going to get worse before getting better

To better understand the chart, we should revisit what happened in China and understand what caused the spike in new cases on February 13th 2020.

New daily COVID-19 cases
Chinese COVID-19 cases saw a spike from February 12th to 13th
If you have been keeping up to date wirh COVID-19 news, you will be familiar with the following timeline,

What seems to have happened was that the Chinese government capitulated and added a new category of "cases confirmed by clinical diagnosis" as a result of the ensuing public outcry.

We have yet to see the intense backlash in the United States required to trigger a credible response from the Trump administration comparable to the Chinese government. Without transparency around test kit shortages or resolving laboratory test pipeline blockages followed by test results transparency, it is likely any semblance of stability might sadly just end up being a false positive without more extensive testing and the potential spike of new cases that are expected to follow.

The opinions expressed are solely the views of the author and not necessarily those of his employers, past or present. They should not be construed nor used solely as a basis of any decisions made without forming conclusions from other independently sourced information, related to the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic or otherwise.

1 comment:

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