Understanding the Epidemic Course in Order to Improve Epidemic Forecasting

Peng Jia

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The epidemic course of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has been differently divided according to its transmission pattern and the infection and mortality status. Unfortunately, such efforts for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have been lacking. Does every epidemic have a unique epidemic course? Can we coordinate two arbitrary courses into an integrated course, which could better reflect a common real-world progression pattern of the epidemics? To what degree can such arbitrary divisions help predict future trends of the COVID-19 pandemic and future epidemics? Spatial lifecourse epidemiology provides a new perspective to understand the course of epidemics, especially pandemics, and a new toolkit to predict the course of future epidemics on the basis of big data. In the present data-driven era, data should be integrated to inform us how the epidemic is transmitting at the present moment, how it will transmit at the next moment, and which interventions would be most cost-effective to curb the epidemic. Both national and international legislations are needed to facilitate the integration of relevant policies of data sharing and confidentiality protection into the current pandemic preparedness guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020GH000303
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Epidemiology
  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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