Mathematical model to predict the evolution of COVID-19 in the Basque Country

In March 2020, a multidisciplinary working group was created (Basque Modeling Working Group, BMTF) made up of researchers from Ikerbasque, the Basque Center for Applied Mathematics (BCAM), UPV/EHU and members of the Basque health institutions with the aim of assisting the Department of Health of the Basque Government and Osakidetza in modeling the dynamics of the COVID-19 disease.

Through epidemiological models (SIR and extensions), operational research and Gaussian processes, it was possible to describe the dynamics of the disease. The article published this week in the prestigious Scientific Journals from Nature Research Journals describes the development of a modeling methodology to describe the evolution of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases.

In this same article, the results obtained by the new SHARUCD stochastic model are presented: The models differentiate mild and asymptomatic infections from severe infections with the probability of hospital admission. They are also capable of anticipating the evolution of the epidemic, which in the case of the Basque Country made it possible to predict the needs of the health system during the increase in hospital admissions.

During the development of the epidemic, the short-term and long-term predictions were contrasted and the precision of the model was validated. In the words of Maíra Aguiar, Ikerbaque researcher at BCAM, “We have shown that the partial confinement measures were effective and sufficient to stop the transmission of the disease in the Basque Country”.

The growth or reproduction rate of the positive cases was calculated from the epidemiological data entered into the model. The information obtained during the exponential phase and the subsequent lockdown phase allowed us to calibrate and improve the model itself. These are the first publicly available results of the modeling of the Basque Country. Currently, the model is still being fed with the available data in order to monitor the transmission of COVID-19 in the current post-lockdown phase and to be able to analyze the result of the measures that are being taken.


Bibliographic reference:
Modeling COVID 19 in the Basque Country: from introduction to control measure response
Scientific Reports