Covid-19 in Georgia. What will happen and what to do?
I will try not to soften the edges and won’t hide behind political correctness. I will describe everything as I tell my friends about it offline. The situation demands it.
I have been studying the statistics of covid in Georgia since the beginning of April. I build SEIR models, calculate R0, Mortality Rate, update statistics on the site.
By virtue of a habit developed over the years, I never consider myself the chief specialist in any field, even if it is very narrow. Nevertheless, I will express a few points from these positions, since, in all likelihood, I am the main specialist in the mathematical epidemiology of Covid 19 in Georgia (unfortunately). Also, I will describe my view on the way out of the crisis.
What will be:
- Covid will evolve within the framework of the model I built, as it has been doing for the past 30 days. By mid-November, the number of tests will not allow even a minimal assessment of the situation and the number of daily positive tests will begin to fluctuate around 5-6 thousand. At the same time, mortality will obviously increase (probably also past the official statistics). The model predicts that by the end of November, the number of daily deaths from covid will reach 100 people. Easing will not have to wait until the end of the year. By this time, the number of victims will amount to tens of thousands.
- The elections will have a significant surge by mid-November. Moreover, it will no longer be localized in megacities, but in small towns and villages, in which the health care system works significantly worse, and the demographic pyramid is much more dangerous.
- Whoever comes to power, lockdowns are inevitable. One could do without them, but not in mid / late November and with the right preparation.
What to do:
- First of all, it is necessary to create a think tank to combat covid. The best specialists in the world in the field of IT, mathematics, medicine and economics should be invited to it. A model should be built taking into account geography, population localization, demographic pyramids, economic indicators … The responsibilities of the center should include 1) Modeling the situation 2) Developing a system of local lockdowns 3) Making recommendations to the government. Ideally, a normal mobile application should be developed for reasonable money, which will reflect recommendations depending on the parameters entered by the user and his location.
- The government must unquestioningly follow the recommendations of the think tank. Already, it is necessary to begin to increase the number of testing laboratories, to establish logistics, management of the healthcare system, to address the economic problems of the population, to train medical personnel, to mobilize medical students, to purchase electronic devices for remote monitoring of the course of the disease and to create centers for the analysis of information. Many approaches have already been developed in the world.
- Having enlisted the support of a think tank, in which, ideally, there should be big names with a worldwide reputation, the government should ask the developed countries for the necessary support. Medicines, tests, equipment, loans, help, volunteers …
- The results of the work of the center should be published on a special resource in accordance with the norms of academic publications. Surnames, links, methods, data, modeling scripts. It is necessary to start sending not three numbers to international databases, but detailed statistics on the sites of infection, tests, the course of the disease, the age of patients and their concomitant diseases (of course, anonymously).
- And finally the main thing. There is no doubt that no one else will give money or support to the current government. In addition, over the past 6 months they have had the most favorable time to implement at least some of the above. They had neither political nor financial resistance. This indicates their inability to solve these problems. Therefore, for me personally, there is no doubt that a way out of the crisis with them is impossible. The opposition should start creating a think tank right now, using its connections and resources. I want to emphasize the word must, since the opposition is an integral part of the government, and many of its representatives are current parliament members. In addition to helping the country out of the crisis, which, it seems to me, is already enough, it will help the coming to power. The population has strong and well-founded fears about a possible mess during the transition period. Developing a single plan is the best and only way to convince people otherwise.
What my predictions are based on:
- The other day, Georgian epidemiologists spoke about the methods of mathematical modeling that they use. What they said surprised me a lot. Their models are based on online resources that exist mainly for pedagogical and informational purposes. That is, they do not take into account the many characteristic factors specific to the country. It looks also ridiculous, as if I started to remove appendicitis from the pictures from Wikipedia. Based on my calculations, I made a forecast for the next 20 days. I attached the graph to the post (online version on the site). In the next paragraph, I will describe why we will not see these figures in the official statistics. Although the reality could be worse.
- Georgian epidemiologists claim that the peak will occur in mid-November (that is, after mid-November, in their opinion, the disease will begin to recede). This is not justified by absolutely nothing. The seasonal peak in the world is predicted for late November – mid-December. However, if you look at the number of tests performed in Georgia, then their confidence in the peak becomes reasonable. We come to the first catastrophic deception in Georgian statistics. The government uses averaging over the period from mid-March. This contradicts not only common sense, but also the WHO recommendations. The statistics should reflect the current picture. At the moment, 8-9 thousand tests are carried out in Georgia a day, while the number of positive tests went to thousands. According to adequate statistics, we are deep in the red zone. The regulated number of tests in the current situation is 30-40 thousand per day. In a week, the system will hit the technical testing boundary, but in reality the virus will spread without any control. This is partly happening now.
- The real lethality of the virus in Georgia is the second deception of epidemiologists. A modified Kaplan-Meier analysis is available on the WHO official website by which the lethality during the epidemic should be assessed. I have attached to the post a calculation table for the last 10 5-day periods according to this method. As you can see, the mortality rate in Georgia is around 2%. This is higher than that of its neighbors and much higher than the world average. Unlike Georgia, other countries have learned to treat patients even in the first wave of the disease.
- Correct methods of dealing with the spread of the virus are always reflected in the disease graph as sharp breaks. As you can see, the smooth nature of the function of the number of cases clearly shows that none of the measures proposed by the government work. That is, the restaurant business and tens of thousands of people working in the industry suffer losses in vain. It is especially cynical to impose responsibility on the population.
- Reports on the stock of PCR tests are also disconcerting. The system is not ready to run a sufficient number of tests, but if fully prepared, they would only last for 20 days. It should be noted that when the technical threshold is reached, testing becomes almost meaningless.
- Now a little about politics, which obviously plays an important role in the current situation. Examining some of the raw materials of opinion polls, the sharp rise in the rating of the prime minister in connection with the virus is obvious. The population, most concerned about the epidemiological situation, pin their hopes on the prime minister. The whole “Georgian dream” understands this too. The postponement of the elections, which would be the most adequate measure in the current situation, will cause irreparable damage to the ruling party. Therefore, you should not count on it. On the other hand, this government obviously does not have a plan for overcoming the crisis. Moreover, one of the main causes of the crisis is criminal information policy. In order to prevent the rating from falling, the government is spreading unreasonably positive expectations.
Тамаз Хунджуа, (Tamaz Khunjua) Georgian Strategic Analysis Center GSAC