The COVID-19 pandemic affected 203 countries between December 2019 and July 2020. The early epidemic “wave” affected countries which now report a few sporadic cases, achieving a stable late phase of the epidemic. Other countries are beginning their epidemic expansion phase. The objective of our study is to characterize the dynamics of the COVID-19 spread.
Data science methods were applied to pandemic, focusing on the daily fatality in 24 countries with more than 2,000 deaths, our analysis kin the end retaining 14 countries that have completed a full cycle.
The analysis demonstrates a COVID-19 dynamic similar in these studied countries. This 3-phase dynamic is like that of common viral respiratory infections. This pattern, however, shows variability and therefore specificity which the method categorizes into clusters of “differentiated epidemic patterns”. Among the 5 detected clusters, 2 main ones regroup 11 of these countries, representing 65% of the world deaths (as of June 24, 2020).
The pattern seems common to a very large number of countries, and congruent with that of epidemics of other respiratory syndromes, opens the hypothesis that the COVID-19 pandemic would have developed its “natural history” by spreading spontaneously despite the measures taken to contain it. The diversity highlighted by the classification into “formal clusters” suggests explanations involving the notion of demographic and geographic epicenters.

Competing Interest Statement

The authors have declared no competing interest.

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