The COVID-19 pandemic: possible scenarios and prospects

On April 3 Scientists at the World Centre for Geoinformatics and Sustainable Development, which works in the structure of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute under the aegis of the International Science Council (https://council.science/), published the research "Foresight COVID-19: the impact on the economy and society" where they analysed the possible course of further spread of the coronavirus pandemic in Ukraine and its impact on the further course of life in the country.

The scenarios are based on a technology foresight methodology which is now widely used in many advanced countries. This methodology allows us to represent the future, which cannot be interpreted as the usual development of the trends from the past. The tools used in such research are based on systems theory and means of systems mathematics that can be applied to solve large-scale multidisciplinary tasks of different nature. Including those that arise in the complex systems, and therefore in large socio-economic formations from individual branches of the economy and even to countries. The need to turn to Foresight, not to traditional methods of forecasting is imposed by the uniqueness of the situation in which humanity is now because we have never encountered pandemics on this scale in the conditions of modern globalisation.

However, of course, scientists have some material about how events develop during and after the pandemics of dangerous diseases. Therefore, the study analyzes the impact on the development of the global economy and global society of large-scale disease outbreaks in recent years, including the A / H1N1 swine flu pandemic (2009) and Ebola (February 2014 - December 2015). Based on the processing of large amounts of data, the researchers offer their own vision of how the current pandemic COVID-19 will affect the development of the economy and society (this is the abbreviation for the English phrase "Coronavirus Disease 2019" - COrona Virus Disease 2019). The main conclusion of this branch of the study is quite optimistic - «The global economic recession in 2020 will be lower than the previous crises, but in 2021-2022, after overcoming a new pandemic and getting rid of outdated and artificial layers, its renewal will begin and growth in accordance with the objective laws of economics».

The important part of Foresight was the creation of a forecast model for analysing the spread of COVID-19 in Ukraine. The World Health Organisation, Johns Hopkins University, the National Health Service of Ukraine, and the Directorate for Regional Policy and Decentralisation of the Office of the President of Ukraine were used to develop this model.

The researchers conducted a thorough analysis using modern mathematical modelling methods and identified three possible scenarios for COVID-19 spread in Ukraine. They are built on the basis of the experience of other countries, to which the pandemic invaded a little earlier than ours. The calculations under pessimistic and optimistic scenarios made it possible to estimate the extent of human losses and the time horizons of the growth and decrement of the coronavirus pandemic in Ukraine.

Therefore, in the pessimistic scenario (which can occur up to 30%), in our country more than 60,000 people may be infected with a coronavirus by the beginning of May. The peak of infection in Ukraine is expected to be on April 22-24.

However, there is also an optimistic scenario. Researchers estimate the probability of its realisation at 10%. If the situation develops according to it (and there are several prerequisites for this), the number of infected persons may be by three times lower. So the number of pandemic victims might be smaller.

Actually, analysts at the World Geoinformatics and Sustainable Development Data

Center believe that the most realistic scenario (with the probability up to 60%) will be between pessimistic and optimistic scenario.

At the same time, in their opinion, on the grounds that it is "better to be wrong in the worst", it could become basic in planning further authority actions of all levels.

They also claim that the study will continue and its results will be published periodically.

More information on the COVID-19 Foresight Study: Impact on the Economy and Society is available on the following link.