A COVID-19 Pandemic Artificial Intelligence-Based System With Deep Learning Forecasting and Automatic Statistical Data Acquisition: Development and Implementation Study

J Med Internet Res. 2021 May 20;23(5):e27806. doi: 10.2196/27806.


Background: More than 79.2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1.7 million deaths were caused by SARS-CoV-2; the disease was named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization. Control of the COVID-19 epidemic has become a crucial issue around the globe, but there are limited studies that investigate the global trend of the COVID-19 pandemic together with each country's policy measures.

Objective: We aimed to develop an online artificial intelligence (AI) system to analyze the dynamic trend of the COVID-19 pandemic, facilitate forecasting and predictive modeling, and produce a heat map visualization of policy measures in 171 countries.

Methods: The COVID-19 Pandemic AI System (CPAIS) integrated two data sets: the data set from the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker from the Blavatnik School of Government, which is maintained by the University of Oxford, and the data set from the COVID-19 Data Repository, which was established by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering. This study utilized four statistical and deep learning techniques for forecasting: autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA), feedforward neural network (FNN), multilayer perceptron (MLP) neural network, and long short-term memory (LSTM). With regard to 1-year records (ie, whole time series data), records from the last 14 days served as the validation set to evaluate the performance of the forecast, whereas earlier records served as the training set.

Results: A total of 171 countries that featured in both databases were included in the online system. The CPAIS was developed to explore variations, trends, and forecasts related to the COVID-19 pandemic across several counties. For instance, the number of confirmed monthly cases in the United States reached a local peak in July 2020 and another peak of 6,368,591 in December 2020. A dynamic heat map with policy measures depicts changes in COVID-19 measures for each country. A total of 19 measures were embedded within the three sections presented on the website, and only 4 of the 19 measures were continuous measures related to financial support or investment. Deep learning models were used to enable COVID-19 forecasting; the performances of ARIMA, FNN, and the MLP neural network were not stable because their forecast accuracy was only better than LSTM for a few countries. LSTM demonstrated the best forecast accuracy for Canada, as the root mean square error (RMSE), mean absolute error (MAE), and mean absolute percentage error (MAPE) were 2272.551, 1501.248, and 0.2723075, respectively. ARIMA (RMSE=317.53169; MAPE=0.4641688) and FNN (RMSE=181.29894; MAPE=0.2708482) demonstrated better performance for South Korea.

Conclusions: The CPAIS collects and summarizes information about the COVID-19 pandemic and offers data visualization and deep learning-based prediction. It might be a useful reference for predicting a serious outbreak or epidemic. Moreover, the system undergoes daily updates and includes the latest information on vaccination, which may change the dynamics of the pandemic.

Keywords: COVID-19; artificial intelligence; data visualization; deep learning; machine learning; pandemic; statistical analysis; time series.

MeSH terms

  • Artificial Intelligence*
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • Data Analysis
  • Deep Learning / standards*
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Models, Statistical
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2 / isolation & purification