Exploring the role of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) in flattening the Greek COVID-19 epidemic curve



Mavragani A & Gkillas K (2021) Exploring the role of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) in flattening the Greek COVID-19 epidemic curve. Scientific Reports, 11 (1), Art. No.: 11741.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic originating in China in December 2019, apart from the grave concerns on the exponentially increasing casualties, the affected countries are called to deal with severe repercussions in all aspects of everyday life, from economic recession to national and international movement restrictions. Several regions managed to handle the pandemic more successfully than others in terms of life loss, while ongoing heated debates as to the right course of action for battling COVID-19 have divided the academic community as well as public opinion. To this direction, in this paper, an autoregressive COVID-19 prediction model with heterogeneous explanatory variables for Greece is proposed, taking past COVID-19 data, non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), and Google query data as independent variables, from the day of the first confirmed case—February 26th—to the day before the announcement for the quarantine measures’ softening—April 24th. The analysis indicates that the early measures taken by the Greek officials positively affected the flattening of the epidemic curve, with Greece having recorded significantly decreased COVID-19 casualties per million population and managing to stay on the low side of the deaths over cases spectrum. In specific, the prediction model identifies the 7-day lag that is needed in order for the measures’ results to actually show, i.e., the optimal time-intervention framework for managing the disease’s spread, while our analysis also indicates an appropriate point during the disease spread where restrictive measures should be applied. Present results have significant implications for effective policy making and in the designing of the NPIs, as the second wave of COVID-19 is expected in fall 2020, and such multidisciplinary analyses are crucial in order to understand the evolution of the Daily Deaths to Daily Cases ratio along with its determinants as soon as possible, for the assessment of the respective domestic health authorities’ policy interventions as well as for the timely health resources allocation.

Computational models; Epidemiology; Health policy; Public health; Statistical methods

Scientific Reports: Volume 11, Issue 1

Publication date31/12/2021
Publication date online03/06/2021
Date accepted by journal30/04/2021
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media LLC