ITB Researchers Predict Indonesia's Coronavirus Epidemic Peak

ITB-Researchers-Predict-Indonesias-Coronavirus-Epidemic-Peak Medical workers in protective suits disinfect an intensive care unit (ICU) ward of Union Jiangbei Hospital in Wuhan, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak, Hubei province, China March 12, 2020. Picture taken March 12, 2020. Medical workers who had travelled to Hubei province from other provinces across China left Wuhan on Tuesday afternoon, after China announced that it had passed the peak of epidemic last week. China Daily via REUTERS

Date: 19 March 2020

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Researchers at the Center for Mathematical Modeling and Simulation of Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) predicts that Indonesia's coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic peak will happen at the end of March and eventually end in mid-April. 

The mathematical calculation was published by the institute's researchers Nuning Nuraini, Kamal Khairuin, and Mochamad Apri in the ITB E-Prints portal on Sunday, March 15. Nuning said that the team used a simple calculation model in the epidemic peak simulation.

"I thought of it as a mathematician, we were just able to read the public's accumulated data," said Nuning to Tempo on Monday, March 16.

The team calculated Indonesia's possible COVID-19 epidemic peak using 'Richard's curve' and compared Indonesia's curve to those from China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, and the United States of America. They concluded that the average 'root mean square error' or RMSE of South Korea's model is relatively similar to Indonesia's. 

Based on the calculation, the predicted number of cases will continue to grow to 8,000 with an average daily coronavirus case of 600, which will last until the middle of April. 

"You can imagine if the acts to prevent this is not taken seriously, it could possibly increase by the dozens, hundreds, thousands, or even millions of patients," the article wrote. 

The ITB researchers asserted that the result is based on the parameter of South Korea's model which is a country known to be quite successful in preventing the COVID-19 pandemic from growing out of hand. Korea has also conducted mass-tests on its citizens with a daily average test of 5,000 people - based on - out of every 1 million people in South Korea. states that South Korea has already commenced 210,144 coronavirus tests as per March 9.

ITB's Center for Mathematical Modeling and Simulation researchers made it clear that the model they used is still imperfect and asserted that the actual number of coronavirus cases could be much larger than what is being reported. 

However, they also hope that the curve will not turn into a sudden steep spike as it would cause hospitals to be overcrowded which would overwork COVID-19 specific hospitals. 

The journal called for people to commit to social distancing and show self-discipline despite how uncomfortable it may be. "It is worth the risk that could face us if we ignore it," the researchers wrote.

However, when asked by Tempo journalist Anwar Siswadi, Nuning said that the current data suggests Indonesia could no longer be compared to South Korea and is closer to the United States. "We will try to update our [coronavirus epidemic peak] model. Different study models and data will produce different results as well," said Nuning.

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