Current Affairs
“Listen to the authorities” – the situation can take a turn for the worse say Maltese scientists

Maltese scientists Dr Joseph Caruana (photo), Prof Kristian Zarb Adami and Dr Lourdes Farrugia have appealed to the public to observe the recommendations by the Maltese authorities which are being given in connection with Covid-19.

These three scientists from the Physics Department at the University of Malta, are analysing the data of the Covid-19 cases in Malta day by day.

In comments they gave to TVM, they said that the future depends on the discipline of the nation and their collective responsibility to follow the health guidelines at all times.

They said that there is no room for being lax and acting irresponsibly.  “It is quite clear that the health authorities are doing a very good job, however when you find that there are those who do not pay attention and listen to the directives, it is very risky in this critical situation.”

They referred to other countries as an example of how the situation can suddenly take a turn for the worse. This is a very real possibility, just as the possibility of having deaths in Malta cannot be excluded.

“If there is irresponsible behaviour today which can lead to the spread of the virus, this will be reflected in the number of cases further on.  Everything depends on people’s behaviour. We can still end up on the path where the numbers start growing drastically.”

Above: The rate at which Covid-19 in spreading in Malta up to Sunday 29 March 

They explained that every number has a level of uncertainty about it, which is called an error. The extent of the margin of error on every number is important, because predictions depend on that.

“In order to understand what the variation could be, after using a mathematical model for various days, we created thousands of simulations using a computer, to explore the possibilities which exist. And we used more than one model.”

They explained that in order to obtain more confidence about the precision of a specific number, there needs to be random testing, for one to avoid sample bias. They said that in the absence of this, the number that one is using might be too optimistic.

“For anyone to think we have emerged from the danger because we have had a few days with a low number of cases is very mistaken and dangerous, ” they concluded.

Watch this video to see the different ways the pandemic can spread: