Coronavirus: What to expect

coronavirus italy

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

With all the numbers and predictions being touted about the COVID-19 pandemic, Newsbook.com.mt sought the advice of mathematician Prof Josef Lauri of the University of Malta. Numbers are his area of expertise and he will be sending Newsbook.com.mt readers a daily assessment and statistical preview in two pictures.

The first attached picture is a time series of the new Covid cases since the start of the epidemic in Malta. It is a moving average over four days, that is, it moves a moving window of four days and takes the average over the four. This smooths out daily fluctuations. This model predicts that tomorrows moving average would be 63, but with a 95% prediction interval between 48 and 75. This means that most likely the average will be around 63 but the actual number would most likely be between 48 and 75.  

The second picture is what epidemiologists call an epicurve. It is basically a histogram recording daily new cases, but it collects the data in chunks of a time interval. The interval is normally one fourth of the incubation time for COVID-19. Since the incubation period of Covid-19 is generally taken as 5.2 days Prof Lauri chose the smallest possible time interval larger than 1, that is, a time interval of 2. One idea is again to smooth out small fluctuations and also to take into consideration the incubation period. Here no average is taken. So all you see are the actual figures but collected over successive non-overlapping two day intervals.

Credits: Prof Josef Lauri; official statistics published on the page SAĦĦA on Facebook.

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