US may see 30,000 new cases daily, China’s COVID-19 predictor shows

By Zhang Hui Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/26 19:17:34


A couple applauds in front of the Mount Sinai Hospital in Queens to show gratitude to medical staff and essential workers working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic in New York City, the US on April 13. Photo: AFP

A group of Chinese scientists has developed a global prediction platform for the COVID-19 pandemic based on the impact of climate, environmental conditions and government control measures, which was launched on Monday.

It aims to predict the pandemic scientifically for the authorities to adopt effective prevention and control measures, according to Lanzhou University in Northwest China's Gansu Province, which called the system "the world's first predictor for COVID-19."

The system was developed by the university's Collaborative Innovation Center for Western Ecological Safety. It will be updated every 10 days. 

The system offers daily predictions of the number of confirmed cases globally and in 180 countries and regions in June. According to the system, the number of new daily global cases will continue to rise in June, and is predicted to reach nearly 250,000 globally by June 30.  

The US will see a new daily case increase of around 30,000 every day in June, while major countries in Europe will witness a continuous drop in new daily cases, according to the system. 

"The system offers a one-month prediction, and scientists plan to predict the pandemic for two to six months," the center told the Global Times in an email on Tuesday. 

In recent days, the world recorded nearly 100,000 new infections daily, while daily new cases in the US approached 10,000.

The infection figures used to establish the system are from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and meteorological data, such as humidity and temperature, comes from NASA and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, the center said. 

Environmental temperature and variations of nitrogen dioxide concentration in the atmosphere are two important indicators for predictions on the COVID-19 pandemic. About 60 percent of confirmed global COVID-19 cases occurred in places with a temperature of 5 to 15 C. The pandemic spreads to high latitude in spring and summer, and mid-latitude countries face risks of a second wave of the COVID-19 epidemic this autumn, the research showed.

The variations of nitrogen dioxide concentration obtained from satellites can reflect the effectiveness of prevention and control measures implemented by governments. When nitrogen dioxide concentration falls, significant declines in traffic and increases in social distancing are usually expected. After about 14 days, the pandemic curve will see a remarkable decline, the system's website said. 

The scientists created the system, which includes the impact of temperature, humidity, urban population density, and control measures for the COVID-19 pandemic, after three months of research and repeated tests.  

International scientists are also adopting different methods to predict the pandemic. The Singapore University of Technology innovation lab has predicted the exact date certain countries like the US and UK will be rid of COVID-19 by using data-driven predictions. But the university also issued a warning, saying the predictions must be received with caution, the Daily Star reported last week.

Yang Zhanqiu, deputy director of the pathogen biology department at Wuhan University, told the Global Times on Tuesday that he believes that taking into account temperature, humidity and population density could provide objective and scientific predictions of the pandemic. 

Using population density, for example, Wuhan's downtown communities saw far more confirmed cases than in the suburbs, Yang said. 

However, the Lanzhou University system cannot predict changes in the character of the novel coronavirus and its pathogenicity. If the virus' transmission capacity suddenly changes, it may affect the pandemic curve, Yang said. 

Yang said that the virus' pathogenicity in the US and China are very different, as it caused more infections and deaths in the US. 


blog comments powered by Disqus