It has become evident that one data set often reveals a piece of the puzzle, but when linking multiple data sources, a much bigger narrative becomes visible. According to media reports, analysed data for South Africa suggests that the current wave of infections (wave three) will have ended around the end of August 2021, but that estimates indicate the fourth wave could start around 2 December – comparable to wave three with an expected new variant of the virus by then and lasting about 75 days.
This kind of reporting demonstrates how data science has played a crucial role in managing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The practical application of theoretical knowledge during these times of crisis has resulted in everything from improving situational awareness to conducting epidemiological modelling, performing network analytics, and even holding randomised controlled trials.
It remains important to keep using different approaches and to constantly incorporate new information so that forecasts are always as accurate as possible. The appearance of new mutation virus variants is notably difficult to predict and could impact the assumptions of each model – pointing to the need for an agile data science environment that can robustly work with new information.
Read the full article by Dr Mark Lambrecht, Director of Global Health and Life Sciences Practice at SAS in the September edition of EngineerIT here