As the COVID-19 outbreak in China increased in January 2020, it put pressure on the Chinese government to contain a growing public health crisis, just as China was entering its busiest travel season of the year. In order to take on the vast challenges, the Chinese government first needed to immediately move a large amount of medical resources (thermometers and coronavirus tests, as well as mobile hospitals capable of accommodating hundreds of thousands of people) to the central Chinese city of Wuhan from the rest of the country in ten days. It was particularly difficult to determine the travel paths of hundreds of millions of people that came and went from the Wuhan area the previous 14 days.
In China, high-tech and big data analysis have been widely used to support government policy decisions, and that has continued in the fight against COVID-19. A mobile app was created that has allowed us to gain insights into the dynamic COVID-19 situation and monitor the number of people infected and their global location. (The figure below is the real-time tracking map of the changing pandemic situation as presented on Teradata Vantage.) During the shelter-at-home period in which we have had to adapt to social distancing, online services including mobile payments, online shopping, home meal delivery, telemedicine, and telecommuting have made it possible for us to work from home.
Chart 1. Chart of Pandemic Progress on Teradata Vantage
China approaches technology as a core value of its national strategy. In recent years, new data centers have been constructed in Western China, allowing big data analysis to be more widely used and bringing value to Chinese social life and economic development. This approach to national governance made it possible to show the importance of data in combatting the COVID-19 outbreak.
So, let’s take a look at the application of big data analysis during the pandemic and what we can expect in the future.
The Value of Advance Analytics in Fighting COVID-19 in China
(1) Telecom Industry: Advanced analytics monitors the travel of infected people.
After the coronavirus outbreak, the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology set up a working group for preventing and regulating the outbreak to provide data services, which was responsible for coordinating the information sharing between departments and provinces. Based on the Teradata data platform, advanced analytics created a path map for people flow, especially for those who came from and passed through Hubei Province or other outbreak areas. These maps tracked the flow of people who had tested positive for the coronavirus in the past 14 days, in order to find out who these people had come into close contact with. These results helped local government and communities to implement defensive measures.
At the same time, the data could be integrated with transportation data from subways and public transport to simulate possible transmission paths using algorithm models, helping to forecast the risk of infection in dense population areas when people returned to work. It was predicted the aggregation rate should be below 60% of normal working days. As a result, the decision was made to implement a staggered shift policy for public traffic when people return to work.
(2) Banking Industry: Advanced data analytics drives targeted loans and interest relief services for small- and medium-sized enterprises in response to the crisis.
Results from advanced data analytics carried out on the Teradata Vantage platform supported the policy to provide targeted loans and interest relief services to small- and medium-sized enterprises. For example, knowledge map analysis was used to determine which enterprises would not survive and needed banking help, allowing banks to grant loans and shorten the approval process. Risk community analysis was used to identify enterprises most affected in the supply chain. Banks would give priority loans or interest relief services to these businesses, helping avoid bankruptcies up and down the supply chain. In addition, in terms of risk control, we used risk analysis of the guarantee circle to identify and manage guarantee relationships and prevent mass defaults.
(3) Public Utilities: With public services such as electricity, water, and gas, advanced data analytics can help community management.
Collecting the data concerning power consumption of grid users and analyzing the power consumption in different periods for every community can help identify the differences in power consumption for households at different times. The fluctuation of power consumption can affect the living conditions of residents, which is a critical consideration during quarantine. For example, various scenarios, such as short-term versus long-term homestays, family return, and isolated personnel movement, can be combined with different algorithm models to accurately determine the daily flow and distribution of people at any time and in any community.
(4) Medical & Health: Improve the efficiency of CT image recognition by applying advanced data analytics in the medical field, and assist in the research and development of specific drugs.
One experienced doctor had 300 CT images of novel coronavirus pneumonia that would take about 5-15 minutes to examine per image. By using AI technology based on historical data of CT image case samples, the AI can learn the focus texture of samples and can accurately interpret CT images of suspected cases in ten seconds, with an accuracy rate of more than 90%, which can greatly improve the diagnosis efficiency.
GHDDI, with the artificial intelligence drug R&D platform developed by the school of pharmacy at Tsinghua University, opened the platform to Chinese drug researchers free of charge. The detailed experimental data included more than 900 small molecules involved in the research of coronavirus in different stages. It also provides researchers with reference data from previous clinical trials and shortens the research and development cycle of epidemic drugs.
In China advanced data analytics will experience explosive growth after the pandemic.
Advanced analytics has helped fight COVID-19 in 2020. The "new infrastructure" has won acclaim for being the most effective way to deal with the pandemic and the economic downturn. China is taking a clear stand in advocating faster construction of a 5G network, artificial intelligence, big data centers, and other infrastructure. With the successful construction of China's 5G network, more advanced analytics will be possible, involving the internet of things, intelligent medical care, long distance education, automated driving, artificial intelligence, virtual / augmented reality, the smart city, intelligent agriculture, and more. At the economic level, China's high-tech development will benefit. At the social level, China will be pushed towards a more intelligent society. In terms of national governance, the role of science and technology will become more and more prominent. In the foreseeable future, there will be explosive growth of advanced analytics in China.