According to researchers from Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), Spain could potentially be coronavirus-free by September 9. The research, which used data up to May 2, revealed that Spain could have register 97 per cent of Covid-19 cases by May 7.
Globally, SUTD’s AI system predicts that the pandemic will end in December 2020. However, the end date is estimated to vary hugely among nations, from June in Australia to October in Italy. France, for example, is predicted to see an end to the disease on August 8, Germany on August 14, the UK on September 8 and Italy on September 10 – a day after Spain. The US is expected to see an end to the pandemic around October 1 and Brazil later in the month on October 21.
That said, the researchers warn that both the model and the data can’t “accurately capture the complexity and dynamic nature of the disease,” and stress that their predictions should be treated with caution. They warn that their model’s accuracy depends on the quality of the data, which is often unreliable and reported differently around the world. But they still believe the predictions can support proactive planning that avoids starting lockdowns too late or relaxing restriction too early.
In addition, the predictions will be “less useful to countries in the early stages of the pandemic,” as they only have data for a small portion of its life cycle, it adds. “In such cases, the estimations are more about explaining the history and less about predicting the future,” wrote SUTD Professor Jianxi Luo, in his research paper on the method. “For those countries, a new epidemic wave might come if the governments and individuals lift controls and disciplines too early, especially when the pandemic is still prevalent in other countries.”
Nevertheless, Professor Luo believes the predictions can help countries and businesses prepare for the next stage of the Covid-19 pandemic.