The researchers from Nazarbayev University Institute of Smart Systems and Artificial Intelligence (ISSAI) have developed 4 strategies for the Coronavirus epidemic in Kazakhstan. Using their recent development, COVID-19 simulator for Kazakhtsan, the scientists showed the following results:
According to the 1st scenario – the strict quarantine regime in the country is continued. The number of COVID-19 related deaths was lowest among all simulations (37) but the epidemic continued till Fall 2020. The negative consequences of this scenario will be economic contraction, unemployment, inflation, psychological issues due to extended isolation, and other problems due to sedentary lifestyle.
2nd scenario – assumption that strict measures are lifted on 14 April 2020 and society goes back to normal. People wash hands more frequently and do voluntary social distancing which decreases the transmission rates of the diseases slightly. However, the results showed that infections and deaths numbers skyrocket (largest number of deaths among all scenarios) once the society goes back to normal.
Therefore, scenario 3 was developed where people prepare first and start the “new normal” on 14 April 2020. These preparations include measures taken to decrease mortality rate, for example, increasing hospital capacity and critical equipment such as ventilators, and transmission rate of the disease, for example, mandatory masks for public transportation and visiting busy places such as malls and grocery stores. The results were much better than those shown within scenario 2, however, this was not enough to fully control the COVID-19 epidemic.
Therefore, the fourth scenario 3++ which is the combination of the “new normal” with the use of Big Data. In this scenario, it is assumed that a special national app will be developed for the control of the spread of COVID-19, which will allow to track people who have been in contact with infected people using their smartphone location data. For instance, the app will be able to trace people who have been in contact with the infected person and will suggest self-isolating thus decreasing the infection spread rate. Each person’s location data will be stored at the data centre and should be used exclusively for public health purposes in real time mode. The results showed that the epidemic can be controlled due to extensive testing and the quarantine for contacts. However, to track all citizens, a mandatory smartphone location tracking app is required.
Detailed information is summarized in the fourth video which is shared on ISSAI Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQsGjNVCNWM
It is noteworthy, that the simulator Kazakhstan is represented as a graph of 17 connected nodes (14 oblasts and 3 cities of Republican significance). Simulator shows the spread of the disease based on various scenarios consisting of different parameters. Depending on the parameters, the simulator can output results for different scenarios and the spread of the disease can be visualized on a graph.