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An ensemble model based on early predictors to forecast COVID-19 healthcare demand in France


Paireau J, Andronico A, Hoze N, Layan M, Crépey P, Roumagnac A, Lavielle M, Boelle PY, Cauchemez S

Short-term forecasting of the COVID-19 pandemic is required to facilitate the planning of COVID-19 health care demand in hospitals. Here, we evaluate the performance of 12 individual models and 19 predictors to anticipate French COVID-19-related health care needs from September 7, 2020, to March 6, 2021. We then build an ensemble model by combining the individual forecasts and retrospectively test this model from March 7, 2021, to July 6, 2021. We find that the inclusion of early predictors (epidemiological, mobility, and meteorological predictors) can halve the rms error for 14-d–ahead forecasts, with epidemiological and mobility predictors contributing the most to the improvement. On average, the ensemble model is the best or second-best model, depending on the evaluation metric. Our approach facilitates the comparison and benchmarking of competing models through their integration in a coherent analytical framework, ensuring that avenues for future improvements can be identified.

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