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Rule of thumb in human intelligence for assessing the COVID-19 outbreak in Japan

By Junko Kurita, Tamie Sugawara, Yasushi Ohkusa

Posted 26 Jan 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.01.20.21250204

Background: The COVID-19 outbreak in Japan exhibited its third peak at the end of 2020. Mathematical modelling and developed AI cannot explain several peaks in a single year. Object: This study was conducted to evaluate a rule of thumb for prediction from past wave experiences. Method: We rescaled the number of newly infected patients as 100% at the peak and checked similarities among waves. Then we extrapolated the courses of the third and later waves. Results: Results show some similarity around the second and the third waves. Based on this similarity, we expected the bottom of the third wave will show 2131 newly positive patients including asymptomatic patients at around the end of February, 2021. Discussion and Conclusion: We can infer the course of the third wave from similarity with the second wave. Mathematical modelling has been unable to do it, even when AI was used for prediction. Performance of the rule of thumb used with human intelligence might be superior to that of AI under these circumstances.

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