Will Coronavirus Pandemic End in Summer Months of May and June?

A study by researchers at a Singapore University predicts that the current coronavirus pandemic will end in the months of May and June. Specifically, the researchers forecast that 97% of the pandemic will end around May 11 in the United States, May 21 in India and June 8 in Pakistan.

Pakistan Coronavirus Case Curve. Source: Singapore University
Singapore Pandemic Model:

The authors of the Singapore study argue that, like other past pandemics, the current covid19 pandemic will follow a bell curve, essentially "a life cycle pattern from the outbreak to the acceleration phase, inflection point, deacceleration phase and eventual stop or ending". Here's an excerpt of the Singapore paper published by Jianxi Luo:

"Such a life cycle is the result of the adaptive and countering behaviours of agents including individuals (avoiding physical contact) and governments (locking down cities) as well as the natural limitations of the ecosystem. However, the pandemic life cycles vary by countries, and different countries might be in different phases of the life cycles at a specific point in time. For instance, on April 21, in Singapore, Prime Minister Hsien-Loong Lee announced the extension of circuit breaker to June 1 in response to the spikes of COVID-19 cases, on the same day when Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced Italy’s plan to reopen from May 4. Ideally such decisions and planning can be rationalized by well knowing where our own country (together with the world as a whole) is in its own pandemic life cycle, when the turning point is coming if it has yet come, and most importantly when the pandemic will end. The basis for such actionable estimation is the pandemic’s life cycle."

The study says that the cases in Pakistan are at or very near their peak while those in the United States are past their peak already. The model shows the US peak of daily infections count being more than 30 times higher than the peak in Pakistan.

There are many theories explaining why Pakistan and the rest of South Asia have fared much better than America and Europe. While it is true that the testing rates in South Asia are low compared to America and Europe, the percentages of people testing positive in South Asia are also low. Here are the numbers: India 4.36%, Bangladesh 11.43% and Pakistan 8.26%, Italy 12.69, US 19.55, France 34.09.

The explanations offered for low coronavirus infection rates in South Asia include more sunshinehigher temperature and humidity, younger demographics, universal BCG vaccinations etc.

US Government Sunlight Study: 

Preliminary results of a US Government study reveal that the sunlight quickly destroys COVID19, the novel coronavirus. The study found that the risk of “transmission from surfaces outdoors is lower during daylight” and under higher temperature and humidity conditions, according to Yahoo News. This latest work reinforces the conclusions of "Will Coronavirus Pandemic Diminish by Summer?", a recent paper written jointly by Pakistani and Indian researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ultraviolet (UV) light, a component of sunlight, has long been known to be an effective disinfectant.

BCG Vaccination: 

A New York Institute of Technology study using data from 178 countries has concluded that both the incidence and mortality of COVID-19  are significantly lower in countries with BCG vaccination programs against TB.

Scientists do not have data yet on the effect of BCG vaccination on coronaviruses in general or SARS-CoV-2 in particular, according to Reuters. There are also many BCG vaccines, with different capacities to protect against various TB strains. Scientists need to determine which BCG vaccines might have the best ability to boost the innate immune system to fight COVID-19.  Scientists say it will take several months to get results from ongoing trials testing the BCG vaccine against COVID-19.

Heat and Humidity: 

A paper titled "Will Coronavirus Pandemic Diminish by Summer?" written by Dr. Qasim Bukhari and Dr. Yusuf Jamil explains that "several countries between 30N and 30S such as Australia, UAE, Qatar, Singapore, Bahrain, Qatar and Taiwan have performed extensive testing per capita and the number of positive 2019-nCoV cases per capita are lower in these countries compared to several European countries and the US".  "The relation between the number of 2019-nCoV cases and temperature and absolute humidity observed here is strong however, the underlying reasoning behind
this relationship is still not clear", they write.

Young Population:

Median age in Pakistan is 22.8 years. Only 3.4% of Pakistanis are 65 years or older, compared to 25% of Italy's population. People 65 and over are the most vulnerable to coronavirus infections and poor outcomes.

“Countries with younger populations should have a different epidemic curve because of the age effect, especially for deaths due to Covid-19,” says Dr. Madhukar Pai, director of Global Health at McGill University in Canada, according to The Print.  Younger people have mild or asymptomatic infection and, over time, they will protect others through herd immunity,



US Coronavirus Case Curve. Source: Singapore University

Summary:

A Singapore study of the current coronavirus pandemic predicts that the summer months of May and June will bring significant relief.  Specifically, the researchers forecast that 97% of the pandemic will end around May 11 in the United States and June 8 in Pakistan.   The model shows the US peak being more than 30 times higher than the peak in Pakistan. There are many theories explaining why Pakistan and the rest of South Asia have fared much better than America and Europe. While it is true that the testing rates in South Asia are low compared to America and Europe, the percentages of people testing positive in South Asia are also low. Here are the numbers: India 4.36%, Bangladesh 11.43% and Pakistan 8.26%, Italy 12.69, US 19.55, France 34.09.   The explanations offered for low coronavirus infection rates in South Asia include more sunshinehigher temperature and humidity, younger demographics, universal BCG vaccinations etc.

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Comments

Riaz Haq said…
India coronavirus: The 'mystery' of low Covid-19 death rates


https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-52435463


Prabhat Jha, of the University of Toronto, who led India's ambitious Million Death Study, believes that to "do this right, missing deaths have to be considered".

"Since most deaths occur at home - and will be for the foreseeable future - in India, other systems are needed," Dr Jha told me.

Around 80% of deaths in India still happen at home, including deaths from infections like malaria and pneumonia. Maternal deaths, and deaths from sudden coronary attacks and accidents are more often reported from hospitals. "A lot of people get some medical attention over time, return and die at home in India," says Dr Jha.
-------------------------

It is also true, as experts say, that most governments are naturally concerned about reporting deaths to avoid scaring people.

"But nobody is trying to hide deaths intentionally. You can't hide mass deaths," says Dr Jha.

"Tracking deaths is far more reliable than cases, which are heavily affected by testing biases. But the key is to make sure all deaths or a good random sample or snapshot of deaths is captured."

India might be missing some deaths and not diagnosing every patient correctly for Covid-19. But the fatalities are unarguably low. Yet, it's too early to say that the country has bucked the trend. "Let's be frank," one expert told me. "We don't know yet."
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan confident in controlling spread of #coronavirus. So far intensity of virus lower compared to other countries across world, says top health official. #COVID19
http://v.aa.com.tr/1820903

Pakistan's top health official has said the intensity of the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the country is not as severe as in other parts of the world.

State Minister for Health Zafar Mirza, while briefing Prime Minister Imran Khan and other Cabinet ministers late Monday, said, so far, the intensity of the spread of the virus is lower compared to other countries in the world.

"As compared to other countries, the number of confirmed cases and death ratio is less than those of other parts of the world," Mirza said, according to a statement issued by the prime minister's office.

But the official data showed that new cases in the country are raising day by day as confirmed cases passed the 14,000 mark on Tuesday.

According to the Health Ministry, 751 new cases were confirmed during the last 24 hours, brining the total number of cases to 14,079, while 16 more fatalities in a day raised the death toll to 301.



Death and recovery ratios

Pakistan stands the second worst-hit country in South Asia after India.

India has so far reported 29,451 cases with 939 deaths, while 7,137 people have recovered so far, according to the data by US-based Johns-Hopkins University.

Death ratio in confirmed cases in India is over 3%, while recovery ratio stands at 24.2%.

In Pakistan, the death ratio was recorded to stand at 2.1%, while recoveries at 23%.

According to Pakistani Health Ministry, so far 3,233 people have successfully recovered and discharged from hospitals across the country.

Some 157,223 people have been tested in the country of over 200 million people, with almost over 6,400 tests conducted over the past 24 hours.

The northeastern Punjab province, which accounts for more than half of the country’s population, is the worst-hit area in Pakistan with more than 5,640 cases.

The southern Sindh province has over 4,956 cases, the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa recorded nearly 1,984 cases, and the southwestern Balochistan province registered 853 cases, according to the ministry data.

The northern Gilgit-Baltistan region accounts for 320 of the country’s total cases, while the capital Islamabad has 261, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir recorded 65 cases so far.

Lahore city, the capital of Punjab province, is so far the worst-hit city, with 27.31% of the total confirmed cases, while the southern port city of Karachi stands second with 13.51% of total number of infections.

Global spread of virus

After emerging in Wuhan, China last December, the coronavirus known as COVID-19, has spread to at least 185 countries and regions.

The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic.

The number of confirmed cases worldwide has now surpassed 3.04 million, while the death toll is above 211,100 and more than 894,300 have recovered, according to data compiled by US-based Johns Hopkins University.

Despite the rising number of cases, most people who contract the virus suffer only mild symptoms before making a recovery.

Riaz Haq said…
Comparison of #COVID19 cases and deaths trajectories in #Pakistan with #India, #US, #Italy, #Iran & #UK. #coronavirus Source: Our World in Data https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus

https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1257506387506032640?s=20
Riaz Haq said…
#Summer weather could help fight #coronavirus spread but won’t halt the pandemic.Any benefit would probably be lost if people mistakenly believe the virus can’t spread in #warm weather and abandon efforts that limit infections, such as #socialdistancing. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/summer-weather-could-help-fight-coronavirus-spread-but-wont-halt-the-pandemic/2020/05/15/70ee90e2-95f6-11ea-9f5e-56d8239bf9ad_story.html

New research has bolstered the hypothesis that summer’s heat, humidity, abundant sunshine and opportunities for people to get outside should combine to inhibit — though certainly not halt — the spread of the coronavirus.

But infectious-disease experts add a cautionary note: Any benefit from summer conditions would probably be lost if people mistakenly believe the virus can’t spread in warm weather and abandon efforts that limit infections, such as social distancing.

“The best way to think about weather is as a secondary factor here,” said Mohammad Jalali, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School who has researched how weather affects the spread of viruses.

The effect of weather on the coronavirus has been the subject of extensive research in recent months and is acutely relevant as the Northern Hemisphere edges closer to Memorial Day and the unofficial start of summer. States and cities are terminating or modifying shutdown orders, and millions of students trying to take classes remotely will soon see their disrupted school year come to an end.

In this transitional moment, many people who have been in quarantine will probably find themselves in places — beaches, pools, parks, recreational sites — that historically have been viewed as benign but now carry some hard-to-calculate risk of viral transmission.

Swimming in a chlorinated pool should be safe if people maintain the six-foot social distancing rule, according to new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC encouraged the use of facial coverings but cautioned they should not be worn in the water, because when wet they can make it difficult to breathe.

“There is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas, or water play areas. Proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in the water,” CDC spokeswoman Kate Grusich said in an email.

But people can still transmit the virus through close personal interactions in any conditions, inside or outside, in sun or rain. The global picture reveals that the coronavirus is capable of spreading in any climate. Warm-weather countries, including Singapore, Indonesia, Brazil and Ecuador, are enduring significant viral spread.

“Environmental conditions are just one more element of the equation, and not by far the most relevant. Covid-19 is spreading fiercely around the world, in all kinds of weather conditions,” Tomas Molina, the chief meteorologist at Spain’s Televisió de Catalunya and a professor at the University of Barcelona, said in an email. Molina examined the course of the outbreak in Barcelona and found a relationship between higher temperatures and lower virus transmission rates.

In recent weeks, numerous research studies, based on laboratory experiments, computer models and sophisticated statistical analyses, have supported the view that the coronavirus will be inhibited by summer weather.

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