Maximum entropy method for estimating the reproduction number: An investigation for COVID-19 in China and the United States
- Journal Article
The key parameter that characterizes the transmissibility of a disease is the reproduction number R. If it exceeds 1, the number of incident cases will inevitably grow over time, and a large epidemic is possible. To prevent the expansion of an epidemic, R must be reduced to a level below 1. To estimate the reproduction number, the probability distribution function of the generation interval of an infectious disease is required to be available; however, this distribution is often unknown. In this paper, given the incomplete information for the generation interval, we propose a maximum entropy method to estimate the reproduction number. Based on this method, given the mean value and variance of the generation interval, we first determine its probability distribution function and in turn estimate the real-time values of the reproduction number of COVID-19 in China and the United States. By applying these estimated reproduction numbers into the susceptible-infectious-removed epidemic model, we simulate the evolutionary tracks of the epidemics in China and the United States, both of which are in accordance with that of the real incident cases. © 2020 American Physical Society. Show more
Journal / seriesPhysical Review E
Pages / Article No.
PublisherAmerican Physical Society
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