A week ago, I used Report card grades to make four predictions about today. The ended up being quite accurate.
Prediction 1. Right now, the US, China, and Italy all have similar numbers (80k) of confirmed infections.The model predicts that in a week, the US will have by far the most (360k) whereas Spain will have 160k and Italy 130k. In other words, the US will have more infections than the #2 and #3 countries combined.
Survey Says: Mostly True.
Today, the US has 246k, Spain has 110k, and Italy has 115k. So the forecasts were too high, which means that each country has flattened their curves compared to last week. The rank ordering was correct. And the US did end up having more infections than the #2 and #3 countries combined (246k vs 225k).
Prediction 2. The total number of infections will be around 1M in a week.
Survey Says: True.
Today, there are 999,726 infections. There were 528k infections when I made that prediction. Um. Yeah.
Prediction 3. The model also predicts that about as many people will die this coming week (26k) as have died so far (24k).
Survey Says: True.
27,826 people died this week from COVID-19.
Prediction 4. And Spain will join Italy as the countries with the most deaths.
Survey Says: True.
When I made that prediction, Italy (8k) had twice as many deaths as Spain (4k), and China (3.3k) and Iran (2.2k) were pretty close to Spain. Now, Italy (14k) and Spain (10k) have far and away the most, with the next closest being the US (6k)
Coronavirus report cards tell you how well each country is flattening the curve using a letter grade, from F- to A+.
I use these grades and make forecasts about where we will be in a week.
These forecasts turn out to be 84% accurate.
To arrive at this number, I looked at predictions made on March 22, 2020 for one week later, and compared those predictions (change in infection counts) with what really transpired. The plot shows that predictions were very accurate, explaining 84% of the variance in what eventually transpired.
For example, Italy had way more cases than the US on the data of the predictions (59k vs. 35k). But the grades predicted that the US would have way more cases than Italy over the course of the week. And that is what actually happened. The US had 70k new cases versus Italy's 27k.
Two weeks ago, much of the world went into lockdown. We are now starting to see the returns on that investment. The month-long slide for Planet Earth has now stopped. And the countries that went into lockdown two weeks ago, like the US, Germany, France, the UK, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, are all moving in the right direction. Looking to Italy, which went into lockdown 1-2 weeks before the other countries, offers hope that more improvement is on the way.
Let's see if these flatness grades really are predictive of the future.
Right now, the US, China, and Italy all have similar numbers (80k) of confirmed infections.
1. The model predicts that in a week, the US will have by far the most (360k) whereas Spain will have 160k and Italy 130k. In other words, the US will have more infections than the #2 and #3 countries combined.
2. The total number of infections will be around 1M in a week.
3. The model also predicts that about as many people will die this coming week (26k) as have died so far (24k).
4. And Spain will join Italy as the countries with the most deaths.
I'll check back in a week to see if these grim predictions were accurate.
Things are grim already and unfortunately it looks like they will get even grimmer before they get better. But grant us the serenity to accept the things we can't change and the courage to change the things we can. By social distancing, we are flattening our curves. It's been almost two weeks since places like Canada and the US went into lockdown and many countries now have something to show for it. I am particularly happy to see the trends in Italy and Iran. Germany, France, Switzerland, and the UK are all showing promise. It's time for Canada and the US to buckle down and do this.
The stories coming out of Italy right now are as heartbreaking as they are frustrating. But I'm optimistic about Italy's future. This graph shows the grades over the past month. China is doing incredibly well. And Iran has shown remarkable improvement over the past 2 weeks. And so has Italy. The number of new cases will start to drop soon if Italy can keep up the good work. Spain, however, has a lot of work cut out for itself. Germany has more. And the US is unfortunately in deep trouble. If the US doesn't get it's act together and fast, there is going to be some major trouble. When the WHO warned that the pandemic is accelerating, we can now see what that that means that the world's grade is dropping from a B toward a C.