Bayesian Spatio-Temporal Prediction and Counterfactual Generation: An Application in Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions in COVID-19.
Lawson A., Rotejanaprasert C.
The spatio-temporal course of an epidemic (such as COVID-19) can be significantly affected by non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) such as full or partial lockdowns. Bayesian Susceptible-Infected-Removed (SIR) models can be applied to the spatio-temporal spread of infectious diseases (STIFs) (such as COVID-19). In causal inference, it is classically of interest to investigate the counterfactuals. In the context of STIF, it is possible to use nowcasting to assess the possible counterfactual realization of disease in an incidence that would have been evidenced with no NPI. Classic lagged dependency spatio-temporal IF models are discussed, and the importance of the ST component in nowcasting is assessed. Real examples of lockdowns for COVID-19 in two US states during 2020 and 2021 are provided. The degeneracy in prediction over longer time periods is highlighted, and the wide confidence intervals characterize the forecasts. For SC, the early and short lockdown contrasted with the longer NJ intervention. The approach here demonstrated marked differences in spatio-temporal disparities across counties with respect to an adherence to counterfactual predictions.