Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Smoothing the Covid-19 Curve #Analytics

Lots of talk still about flattening the curve of Covid-19 infections. There now is clear evidence that the curves have flattened in many countries (see the excellent "Has the curve flattened?" page at Johns Hopkins). Much of the data is still what we call "noisy" - going up and down.

Data source: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

One method that researchers use to detect trends in "noisy" data is to use a moving average to smooth the data. In the diagram above the blue line represents actual daily data for the number of confirmed new cases of Covid-19 in Ireland - as you can see it does jump up and down a bit over time, though a trend is still visible. By applying a moving average (I have used a 5-day average), the smoothing red dotted line is much clearer in displaying the downward trend since the peak in mid-April. It still has a long way to go, but let's hope that we do not see the trend going upwards again.

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