ANALYSTS have retracted predictions that the US could be coronavirus-free by as early as September 20, saying that “over-optimism” based on predictions is “dangerous”.
The projections came out of the Singapore University of Technology and Design, where researchers are using artificial intelligence to chart the pandemic’s life cycle, country by country.
The predictions were taken down on May 11, and a warning was posted by the data modelers that the information was “inaccurate to the complex, evolving, and heterogeneous realities of different countries over time”.
“Over-optimism based on some predictions is dangerous because it may loosen our disciplines and controls and cause the turnaround of the virus and infection, and must be avoided,” the post read.
“Earlier predictions are no longer valid because the real-world scenarios have changed rapidly.”
On Saturday, some media outlets had run with the story that Singapore would be coronavirus-free by June 28, the UK by August 30, and the US by September 20.
The model had also predicted a complete end to the pandemic on a worldwide scale by December 4, according to The Metro.
The Singapore team’s model was based on a predictive monitoring technique, which input cases and deaths worldwide and visualizes the data in a bar chart.
A bell-shaped curve over the top displayed the projected trajectory of the disease, including peak, acceleration and deceleration.
The university site’s content is “strictly only for educational and research purposes and may contain errors” the analysts said, also adding that they had “experimented” with the monitoring models.
Last week, a coronavirus study was called into question after it emerged it was part-funded by the founder of JetBlue Airways, who had said the pandemic’s impacts had been overblown.
David Neeleman, CEO of the airlines, gave $5,000 to an antibodies study which was then used by conservative groups to argue coronavirus cases were inflated and US businesses should be allowed to reopen, BuzzFeed reported.
The study, led by Stanford University scientists, including the famous John Ioannidis, found the number of coronavirus infections was up to 85 times higher than believed.
The high infection rate would mean that the death rate of the coronavirus would be between 0.12% to 0.2% – instead of 1.4%.
This much lower fatality rate is closer to the death rate of the flu, and the study became a hotly contested point in the science world.
Ioannidis’ research, released in pre-print form – meaning it had not been peer-reviewed – was used by conservatives and Republicans to push for the US to end shutdowns.
Two weeks after the study was released, its authors posted a revision, but Ioannidis had already appeared on several media outlets talking about the results.
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“Most of the population has minimal risk, in the range of dying while you’re driving from home to work and back,” the renowned scientist told Fox News.
As of May 23, 96,802 people had died of coronavirus in the US, and 340,653 people worldwide had succumbed to the virus.
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