China to launch online global system to predict COVID-19 spread


A system to predict the spread of COVID-19 globally will be launched online on Monday, Chinese researchers said.

XinhuaUpdated: May 25, 2020

A system to predict the spread of COVID-19 globally will be launched online on Monday, Chinese researchers said.

The Global COVID-19 Prediction System is established by the collaborative innovation center of western ecological safety led by Lanzhou University in northwest China's Gansu province.

The system will predict the daily numbers of infection cases for 30 consecutive days of over 180 countries around the world, taking into account the impact of climate and environmental conditions, population densities as well as government control measures, said Huang Jianping, director of the center.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers of the center have been working for three months to develop the system on the basis of the existing regional epidemic prediction model, said Huang.

According to their findings, the best temperature for the spread of the novel coronavirus is between 5 degrees Celsius and 15 degrees Celsius, with 60 percent of the COVID-19 cases around the world reported within the temperature scope.

They also refer to the content of nitrogen dioxide observed by satellites, which they have found can reflect the effect of government measures on the epidemic control.

"The nitrogen dioxide comes from the emissions of vehicle exhausts and factories. If its content in the air is drastically reduced, it indicates less traffic with fewer human interactions — a proof for effective government prevention measures," Huang said.

Liu Xingrong, head of the School of Public Health of Lanzhou University, said a worldwide prediction on the COVID-19 pandemic is not only out of the demand for the treatment of the COVID-19 cases but also matters to the social governance.

"By creating the prediction model based on authoritative data, researchers will help provide countermeasures to explore the evolution mechanism of the epidemic and contribute to the establishment and improvement of the epidemiological model," he said.

According to Huang, the infection and death figures they have used to establish the system are from the Johns Hopkins University of the United States, while the weather data, including the temperatures and humidities, are from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States.