Solver Society: Get to Know with the COVID-19 Outbreak

World Map of COVID-19 outbreaks per capita. Source: https://id.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:COVID-19_Outbreak_World_Map_per_Capita.svg

As I promise in the previous article about the Solver Society by IYKRA, I will share the materials I got during the first seminar of this program. On the March, 4th 2020, I started the Solver Society COVID-19 2020 program by attending the first seminar material about COVID-19 in general. This material was delivered by “Ceng Rizal” dr. Syahrizal Syarif who is a lecturer at the Faculty of Public Health, University of Indonesia. He is also a health activist who was appointed as the secretary when handling the SARS virus spread in Indonesia several years ago. This material intended to provide an overview of COVID-19 to be our stepping stone in further exploration of this program.

In this material, he said that the level of virus spread in general has an increasingly shorter span of time. In its time, the SARS virus took 8 years to take on a lot of casualties, then it became shorter in the spread of the MERS virus with a span of 8 months, and most recently has been COVID-19 which only took 8 weeks to get the same spread rate with the previous mentioned viruses. In terms of spread, COVID-19 has an easy spread, but the mortality rate is less because its mortality rate is actually lower than seasonal flu. From the available data, one of the important data is the “daily new cases” data, i.e. the number of positive COVID-19 new cases every day. This data could be used as a reference to estimate when the outbreak will stop. The most common spread of the COVID-19 virus occurs from closed contact, but it does not rule out the possibility to spread indirectly, e.g. by holding on items that have been held by a contaminated person. Three important factors in the spread of viruses are the host, agent, and the environment.

Information related to the spread of COVID-19 that we got is actually only a tip of the iceberg as it is obtained only from hospital data. We do not know the cases “under the iceberg” which is the cases at home that are not reported to the hospital. In fact the number of people who have been infected could be far more. However, we shouldn’t be too worry as with strong antibodies, our bodies can automatically recover from the virus. In addition, there is no drug of choice for curing COVID-19, but the most important thing is how to disrupt the virus replication process itself. Some researchers have tried to find suitable drugs, for example by using drugs to treat Ebola or malaria.

As the Solver Society program tends to focus on data exploration, he added that patient data can be an interesting insight to be learned. Some variables that we can observe are age, gender, place, and time.

A Tiny Bit of Comment

I am interested to find out more about daily new cases. However, because at that moment there were only 2 people in Indonesia who was tested positive for COVID-19, while data for other countries outside China at that time was limited, I did not continue my plan to explore further on this matter. However, when trying to look at it in this moment, based on information obtained from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) as reported by Indonesian News Portal Kompas.com, it is seen that the decrease in daily new cases shows the tendency of epidemic relief in related locations, and might be used to predict the end date of the outbreak, shown in Figure 1 and Figure 2. The COVID-19 outbreak in Indonesia was once predicted to end in June, but over time and the trend of daily new cases that emerged, the prediction altered to October. Hopefully the daily new cases in Indonesia will soon be decreasing and the COVID-19 outbreak in Indonesia will soon come to an end.

Figure 1: Estimated Model for Data on Life Cycle, Turning Point, and End Date COVID-19 for Singapore on April 21 versus April 28, 2020, modified. Source: https://www.persi.or.id/images/2020/data/covid19_prediction_paper.pdf
Figure 2 Estimation of Data-Based Model of Life Cycle, Turning Point, and End Date COVID-19 for the World and Indonesia, modified. Source: https://ddi.sutd.edu.sg/ as quoted in https://www.kompas.com/global/read/2020/05/07/151003270/riset-universitas-di-singapura-wabah-covid-19-di-indonesia-berakhir-7

Additional information

This article is also published in Indonesian on my Linkedin Profile on this link. This article is part of a collection of articles on my experience in joining the Solver Society volunteering program. Other related articles are as follows:

Learn to live, live to learn

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