Corona Daily Comment – ENG | 01

EXCLUSIVE! The results of the model developed by FinLantern on the progress of the Coronavirus epidemic

Coronavirus Daily Comment (issue #1)

(by Riccardo Esposito, CEO at FinLantern)





In this number:

  • Presentation of the main results of the monitoring and forecasting model of the epidemiological curve developed by FinLantern.
  • Why Italy is, at the moment, the best benchmark in the world to make predictions about the epidemic in all advanced countries.
  • Comment on yesterday’s data (March 17th)
  • Forecast on today’s data (March 18th)
  • Analysis of the possible impact of these data on financial markets.
  • (in the next issue) We will demonstrate that all containment models to spread the epidemic over a long period of time (and take care of all the infected) that the various states are trying to follow are based on a completely wrong hypothesis



Dear FinLantern friends,

While waiting for our life to return to normal and for work to return to the daily rhythm, I confess that in this period I have returned to doing what I once knew best: analysing data.

In fact, after uploading hundreds and hundreds of daily data on the trend of the epidemic in the main areas of interest (China, Italy, Switzerland, USA), I have developed a model for monitoring and forecasting the epidemiological curve (the FinLantern model).
Therefore, if it doesn’t bother you, I will be glad to share with you its outcomes and my comment (certainly independent and neutral) about the daily data that Italy publishes every day at 6:00 pm.


The choice of Italy is linked to the following main factors:

  1. Italy is the main advanced economy where Coronavirus COVID-19 has “officially” spread immediately after China. This permits us to have the longest data set.
  2. Italy, far from being the “infector of Europe”, is the only country in the world to have started to actively search for Coronavirus among its population from the very beginning (150,000 swabs!). Although from one point of view this has meant that Italy reached the first place (immediately after China) of the most affected countries in the world, from another point of view Italy has proved to be certainly the most transparent country to provide data on the development of the epidemic. Neither France, nor the United Kingdom, nor Germany, nor Spain (which although it has become “officially” the second most affected European country, some experts are estimating that the number of infected cases could be almost double!) … and, surely, neither the United States can provide the same reliable data set.
  3. Unfortunately, no Western government will be able to impose the restrictive measures adopted by China on its population (which have proven to be particularly effective). For this reason the epidemiological curve in China cannot be applied to other countries, while Italy can represent the best benchmark for all advanced countries in order to estimate their epidemiological curves, based on the restrictive measures adopted by a democratic government.




If I had started this “column” yesterday, when everyone said the March 16 th data was encouraging (drop in new cases, drop in currently positive cases, drop in deaths), I could have told you that, based on the FinLantern model, these were actually absolutely in line with a trend that remains exponential.
Et voilà! Indeed, as could have been expected, the record of positive cases (almost 3000 in a single day) was immediately registered yesterday 17 March.


Given that each model (including ours) is not able to accurately estimate the data of each day (but only a trend) and given that real data never follow a perfect curve (there may also be inaccuracies in data collection) and can therefore be very fluctuating around the same trend, I inform you that yesterday’s data (as of March 17th) would seem, according to FinLantern model, “good” and would confirm a slight slowdown in the rate of expansion of the epidemic in Italy (which, however, still remains exponential).

In fact, yesterday’s data tell us, on the basis of our model, that an index (called RO, which I could translate into “number of contagious contacts that each infected can cause on average”) has achieved for the first time a value equal to 2 (just to give you an idea, at the beginning of March the same RO index was higher than 4, that means that each infected person was able to infect at least 4 others).
Although 2 is better than 4, there is no need to get excited … in fact a RO = 2 means that, based on the approximately 26,000 people currently infected in Italy, these will result in about 52,000 new infections in a few days!!! … 52,000 people have already been infected and still don’t know!

Given that it is not the task of this study to say if the Italian health system will be able to withstand this impact, how many will be dead and how many will be cured … what I could instead estimate (only ESTIMATE!), with a degree of accuracy that can improve day by day, is:

  1. How many new infects could be the next day (considering the impact of this figure on market sentiment and consequently on financial markets).
  2. How many could be the total infected at the end of the epidemic in Italy (excluding the so-called “return cases”)
  3. When the epidemic could start to slow down (RO < 1)
  4. When the epidemic could end (excluding the emergence of any new outbreaks, which in a population that is not totally immune will always be possible)


I still have many things to tell you about what the FinLantern model could provide as information in order to better understand what awaits us all in the coming days and how the financial markets could move and react to epidemiological data, but I have already been too long-winded.

If you want to follow me in this “Coronavirus Daily Comment“, I will therefore undertake to give you every day an update of the estimates of our forecast model and to add some useful information.

For example, in the next issue I will demonstrate that all containment models to spread the epidemic over a long period of time (and take care of all the infected) that the various states are trying to follow are based on a completely wrong hypothesis.

I am available to answer your possible curiosities at
A good #IstayHome to all of you,




Riccardo Esposito

CEO – FinLantern