Statistical modelling is being used worldwide to help governments formulate their coronavirus (COVID-19) responses
by estimating the rate of the virus transmission.
The models produced by the South African COVID-19 Modelling Consortium, made up of a group of experts from government institutions
and several universitybased institutions, are primarily being used by government to estimate the trajectory of the virus in South Africa.
This will help the country plan and scale up the response to the pandemic.
According to the consortium, COVID-19 is estimated to infect one million South Africans and result in the death of 40 000 people.
The consortium includes experts from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases;
the Modelling and Simulation Hub Africa from the University of Cape Town; the DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Epidemiological Modelling
Statistics help shape and Analysis at the University of Stellenbosch; and the Health Economics and Epidemiology Research Office at the University of the Witwatersrand.
Statistical modelling Dr Yogan Pillay, the former Deputy Director-General for Communicable
and Non-communicable Disease, Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation at the National Department of Health (NDoH),
Statistics help shape says statistical models are used to estimate or predict what can happen in the future.
They are not accurate but, using available data, they are predictions.
He explains that there are three types of models that are useful in planning the country’s response to COVID-19.
These are predictive, intervention and spatial models. Mathematical equations are used in conjunction with available data with a number of assumptions to create predictive models, which estimate how many people are likely to become infected and when the epidemic will peak.
Intervention models estimate the impact of various interventions on the rate of transmission that is being modelled.
Spatial models use geospatial maps to show where the objects under review, in our case COVID-19, are found, such as hotspots, he says.
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