Prompt surveillance and forecasting of COVID-19 spread are of critical importance for slowing down the pandemic and for the success of any public mitigation efforts. However, as with any infectious disease with rapid transmission and high virulence, lack of COVID-19 observations for near-real-time forecasting is still the key challenge obstructing operational disease prediction and control. In this context, we can follow the two approaches to forecasting COVID-19 dynamics: based on mechanistic models and based on machine learning. Mechanistic models are better in capturing an epidemiological curve, using a low amount of data, and describing the overall trajectory of the disease dynamics, hence, providing long-term insights into where the disease might go. Machine learning, in turn, can provide more precise data-driven forecasts especially in the short-term horizons, while suffering from limited interpretability and usually requiring backlog history on the infectious disease. We propose a unified reinforcement learning framework that combines the two approaches. That is, long-term trajectory forecasts are used in machine learning techniques to forecast local variability which is not captured by the mechanistic model.
Geospatial forecasting of COVID-19 spread and risk of reaching hospital capacity
Bobashev, G. V., Segovia-Dominguez, I., Gel, Y. R., Rineer, J. I., Rhea, S. K., & Sui, H. (2020). Geospatial forecasting of COVID-19 spread and risk of reaching hospital capacity. SIG SIGSPATIAL Special Interest Group on Spatial Information, 12(2), 25-32. https://doi.org/10.1145/3431843.3431847