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JP Morgan estimates worse to come for countries hit by COVID-19

A predictive model estimates the lifecycle of the coronavirus pandemic in affected countries, from its current stage to future infection trends.

The worst is yet to come for many countries hit by the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to a data model from JP Morgan Asia’s insurance team. The model outlines the possible lifecycle of the epidemic based on reverse calculations applying the average mortality rate of Korea, Japan and cruise liner Diamond Princess to countries that have higher mortality rates. If its projections hold true, the COVID-19 pandemic is at its early to middle stages worldwide and cases remain set to rise in the coming weeks.


The model divides the pandemic into four phases: early development, acceleration, late accumulation and recovery. Data show that China may have up to 340,000 infections throughout the crisis, but the silver lining is that the country has entered the recovery phase. China’s recovery rate may soon offset and exceed the small number of new infections. With China’s large market, the country’s recovery will bring some relief for the global economy.

Italy and Iran, notable epicentres of the outbreak in their regions, are expected to reach up to 40,000 and 21,000 infections, respectively. Both countries are in the late accumulation phase alongside South Korea, which means the crisis may be approaching its peak in these nations. The infection rate will remain rising for a time, but recovery may soon be imminent.

Others like the United States, Japan and parts of Europe are classified in the early development and acceleration stages. These countries are yet to feel the brunt of the crisis, with cases expected to surge.

JP Morgan advises the public to observe proper personal hygiene and keep social distance, as these measures are “the most realistic solutions to reduce the risk of virus transmission.”

As of press time, the number of infections globally has exceeded 125,000 with about 4,613 deaths. Bulk of the cases remain in China with about 81,000, although Korea, Italy and Iran have all seen surges in infections in the past days.

At a recent news conference, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted that over the past two weeks, cases have risen 13-fold and the number of countries affected have tripled. WHO shares the same view that countries will continue to see increases in infections and that new countries may follow suit in being at the frontline of the pandemic.


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