Research Excerpts

Fourteen unique COVID-19 trend groupings identified by Sunway University following analysis on confirmed cases of 184 economic blocks

Using the Global COVID-19 Index (GCI) model as a supporting data engine, Sunway University has identified a unique way of looking at the spread of COVID-19 which it hopes to unveil new insights into country-level epidemic management. Via a dendogram analysis which takes into consideration multivariate factors, the researchers at Sunway University have identified 14 unique trend groupings from the 156 countries covered by the GCI.

Research Excerpt from Sunway University:

We attempted to study the trends of the first 60-day cumulative confirmed cases of COVID-19. We started by looking at the full sample set available from the GCI. After filtering out economic blocks with incomplete data and total confirmed cases fewer than 50 within the first 60 days, we proceeded to perform cluster analysis on 156 economic blocks.

A 5-day gradient was calculated for the cumulative confirmed cases of COVID-19. We then utilised a Hierarchical Clustering (Average Linkage) algorithm to construct a dendrogram. From the dendrogram, we identified 14 distinct clusters of countries that showed similar distribution trends of cumulative confirmed cases (Table 1).

These clusters cover a total of 58 economic blocks (38% of the filtered sample size). The remaining 98 blocks like China and Norway have standalone trends which potentially can be case studies of their own.

It will be interesting to see if the observed epidemic management of economic blocks within the same cluster share commonalities that could lead to greater insights as to what caused these trends to be similar. We hope to use these findings to enable data-driven research from a different perspective to the more commonly explored parameters of regional, cultural, income, healthcare systems and population density. Of particular interest would be the measures undertaken or not undertaken to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Table 1. Distribution trends of cumulative confirmed cases of COVID-19

Credit to: Dr Chook Jack Bee, Prof David Bradley, Prof Peh Suat Cheng from School of Healthcare and Medical Science, Sunway University; and Dr Jane Teh Kimm Lii and Prof Teo Kok Lay from School of Mathematical Science, Sunway University