Italy likely reached COVID-19 transmission peak but total cases may reach over 200,000 before return to normal, says GlobalData

It is likely that Italy has reached a peak in COVID-19 transmissions as the country has seen a continued decrease in new laboratory-confirmed cases for the last two weeks. At the peak week, Italy was reporting an average of 5,500 new cases per day. Leading data and analytics company GlobalData’s COVID-19 modelling shows that while Italy is trending along the recovery forecast, it will still take more than a month for cases to be controlled.

The company’s latest sector forecast, ‘COVID-19 cases may have reached peak in Italy, US and UK will see the worst yet’, reveals that it is expected to take an additional month for the outbreak to be completely control* in Italy. The total confirmed cases in the country is currently at 132,500, ranking it third globally. GlobalData estimates Italy will see at least 200,000 confirmed cases by the end of the outbreak.

Kasey Fu, Director of Epidemiology at GlobalData, commented: “Italy will need to continue to carry out infection prevention methods for quite some time, including ensuring lock-down and social-distancing orders are being followed effectively. The difficulty in measuring success with battling this disease largely lies in its long incubation period. Even though Italy enacted very tough lock-down policies starting on 9th March, it was not until almost a month later that we could definitively see the turning point.”

Fu continued: ‘‘It will be difficult to sustain the population’s morale during the recovery phase, as people may start feeling more relaxed about prevention when they see an obvious downtrend in cases. A lack of vigilance now would be disastrous because it could easily cause a second wave of peak infections that would not be seen until weeks later.

“The apparent down-turn of new cases needs to be interpreted with caution. Reporting delays is very likely in a public health system that has been under tremendous strain such as  in Italy. We have been careful to not call the decline until the trend has been solid for two weeks. In addition, the forecast model is heavily based on China’s trajectory, which also has serious data limitation considerations. Finally, the trend from China may not be applicable when applied to a Western market like Italy that has unique population characteristics.

“We are keeping a close eye on Italy, Spain and Austria. These three markets in Europe have appeared to hit the peak and would be very useful in informing forecasts for other countries that are lagging behind such as the US and the UK.” 

* Completely in control is defined as daily new cases approaching near zero

Information based on GlobalData’s report: ‘COVID-19 cases may have reached peak in Italy, US and UK will see the worst yet’

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