The number of Covid-19 infections could fall to just over 220 per day and the number of deaths to five per day by mid-May, according to a new forecast hub launched by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
The hub predicts the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths four weeks ahead in 30 EU/EEA member states, as well as the UK and Switzerland.
The ECDC hub includes forecasts by a range of different scientific groups not just the European agency and is supported by the Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases (CMMID) at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
Some models account for changes in behaviour, “pandemic fatigue”, vaccine rollout, and newly emerging variants while others do not and it is possible to pull all predictions together in a single ‘ensemble’ forecast to provide a more accurate and reliable forecast.
The majority of the forecasts on the ECDC hub predict a continuing decline in Covid infections in Ireland over the coming weeks, with the exception of one US modelling group which suggests case numbers could rise in early May before beginning to plateau again.
The ECDC ‘ensemble’ forecast suggests that infection rates will continue to fall in Ireland over the next four weeks, possibly to 1,558 cases a week or 222 cases per day by May 15.
It predicts that case numbers will fall by 200-300 every week from this Saturday, April 24, to May 15.
Over the past seven days, 2,612 new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed across the country, averaging around 373 cases per day, according to data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC).
The new ECDC hub also predicts the number of deaths from the virus and suggests that Covid-19 related deaths could fall to 34 per week, or almost five per day in Ireland, by mid-May.
The latest data from the HPSC shows that 50 Covid-deaths were recorded over the past week — around seven per day — although several of those notified occurred earlier in the year.
Close to 245,000 cases of Covid-19 and more than 4,850 Covid-19 related deaths have been confirmed in Ireland to date.
Elsewhere in Europe, the ECDC forecast hub predicts that Covid infection rates will continue to rise in France, Germany, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark, and the Netherlands over the coming weeks, but will see a general decline in other EU member states.
“We are excited about European modelling teams collaborating together with others from around the world to develop accurate and timely predictions of Covid-19 cases and deaths in Europe," said Helen Johnson, a mathematical modeller with the ECDC.
"We clearly foresee the potential impact on public health policy. This initiative yields insight now and also strengthens our capacity to respond to infectious disease threats in the future."
The ECDC Covid-19 forecast hub can be found here