Predicting and forecasting the impact of local outbreaks of COVID-19: use of SEIR-D quantitative epidemiological modelling for healthcare demand and capacity

Campillo-Funollet, Eduard, Van Yperen, James, Allman, Phil, Bell, Michael, Beresford, Warren, Clay, Jacqueline, Dorey, Matthew, Evans, Graham, Gilchrist, Kate, Memon, Anjum, Pannu, Gurprit, Walkley, Ryan, Watson, Mark and Madzvamuse, Anotida (2021) Predicting and forecasting the impact of local outbreaks of COVID-19: use of SEIR-D quantitative epidemiological modelling for healthcare demand and capacity. International Journal of Epidemiology, 50 (4). pp. 1103-1113. ISSN 0300-5771

[img] PDF - Submitted Version
Restricted to SRO admin only

Download (560kB)
[img] PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (931kB)


The world is experiencing local/regional hotspots and spikes in the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes COVID-19 disease. We aimed to formulate an applicable epidemiological model to accurately predict and forecast the impact of local outbreaks of COVID-19 to guide the local healthcare demand and capacity, policy-making and public health decisions.

The model utilized the aggregated daily COVID-19 situation reports (including counts of daily admissions, discharges and bed occupancy) from the local National Health Service (NHS) hospitals and COVID-19-related weekly deaths in hospitals and other settings in Sussex (population 1.7 million), Southeast England. These data sets corresponded to the first wave of COVID-19 infections from 24 March to 15 June 2020. A novel epidemiological predictive and forecasting model was then derived based on the local/regional surveillance data. Through a rigorous inverse parameter inference approach, the model parameters were estimated by fitting the model to the data in an optimal sense and then subsequent validation.

The inferred parameters were physically reasonable and matched up to the widely used parameter values derived from the national data sets by Biggerstaff M, Cowling BJ, Cucunubá ZM et al. (Early insights from statistical and mathematical modeling of key epidemiologic parameters of COVID-19, Emerging infectious diseases. 2020;26(11)). We validate the predictive power of our model by using a subset of the available data and comparing the model predictions for the next 10, 20 and 30 days. The model exhibits a high accuracy in the prediction, even when using only as few as 20 data points for the fitting.

We have demonstrated that by using local/regional data, our predictive and forecasting model can be utilized to guide the local healthcare demand and capacity, policy-making and public health decisions to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the local population. Understanding how future COVID-19 spikes/waves could possibly affect the regional populations empowers us to ensure the timely commissioning and organization of services. The flexibility of timings in the model, in combination with other early-warning systems, produces a time frame for these services to prepare and isolate capacity for likely and potential demand within regional hospitals. The model also allows local authorities to plan potential mortuary capacity and understand the burden on crematoria and burial services. The model algorithms have been integrated into a web-based multi-institutional toolkit, which can be used by NHS hospitals, local authorities and public health departments in other regions of the UK and elsewhere. The parameters, which are locally informed, form the basis of predicting and forecasting exercises accounting for different scenarios and impacts of COVID-19 transmission.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: medRxiv -
Keywords: COVID-19, SEIR-D epidemiological model, forecasting, healthcare demand, parameter inference
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Primary Care and Public Health
School of Life Sciences > Sussex Centre for Genome Damage and Stability
School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Mathematics
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2021 13:41
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2022 17:39

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update
Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
InCeM: Research Training Network on Integrated Component Cycling in Epithelial Cell MotilityG1546EUROPEAN UNIONUnset
New predictive mathematical and computational models in experimental sciencesG1949ROYAL SOCIETYWM160017
UK-Africa Postgraduate Advanced Study Institute in Mathematical Sciences (UK-APASI)G2818EPSRC-ENGINEERING & PHYSICAL SCIENCES RESEARCH COUNCILEP/T00410X/1
Unravelling new mathematics for 3D cell migrationG1438LEVERHULME TRUSTRPG-2014-149