COVID-19: Independently modelled projections (May)

The number of cases of COVID-19 could reach 50 million over the next four weeks, with a potential for 644,000 deaths, according to low scenario estimates modelled by Verisk’s catastrophe modelling unit, AIR Worldwide.

According to the World Health Organisation, data from this morning show 4,864,881 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 321,818 deaths worldwide, with the US accounting for 2,166,003 confirmed cases.

“Variance in publicly reported estimates stems from a number of factors, not the least of which are misreporting and underreporting of infections and deaths,” said Doug Fullam, director of life and health modelling at Verisk. “Underreporting is driven by the fact that as much as 60-80% of people infected with COVID-19 may exhibit no symptoms or only mild symptoms and, most likely, do not get tested. The cases of COVID-19 that are reported, therefore, represent at best only 20-40% of the total population. Therefore, in all likelihood, underreporting is substantively higher. Testing more widely in the general population would lead to more accurate numbers of cases and deaths being reported."

All the information used in this analysis is derived from the AIR Pandemic Model, a stochastic modelling framework that allows for more accurate modelling of the disease dynamics, including but not limited to: travel patterns and restrictions; changes to mitigation efforts; introduction of pharmaceutical or non-pharmaceutical interventions; and impact on transmission due to changes in susceptible population. Specific to COVID-19 projection, AIR updates the estimated parameters frequently to develop near real-time forecasting.

AIR’s model-based estimates account for uncertainty and underreporting. Mild to moderate symptoms are also least likely to be captured in the official numbers.

It is understood that in the UK fewer than 10,000 patients are now seriously ill with the virus in hospital, the lowest level since lockdown began. As at yesterday evening, the total number of lab-confirmed cases, according to the official PHE figures, was 248,293, while the total number of deaths stood at 35,704.

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