Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Merced

UC Merced Previously Published Works bannerUC Merced

RLIM: a recursive and latent infection model for the prediction of US COVID-19 infections and turning points.


Initially found in Hubei, Wuhan, and identified as a novel virus of the coronavirus family by the WHO, COVID-19 has spread worldwide at exponential speed, causing millions of deaths and public fear. Currently, the USA, India, Brazil, and other parts of the world are experiencing a secondary wave of COVID-19. However, the medical, mathematical, and pharmaceutical aspects of its transmission, incubation, and recovery processes are still unclear. The classical susceptible-infected-recovered model has limitations in describing the dynamic behavior of COVID-19. Hence, it is necessary to introduce a recursive, latent model to predict the number of future COVID-19 infection cases in the USA. In this article, a dynamic recursive and latent infection model (RLIM) based on the classical SEIR model is proposed to predict the number of COVID-19 infections. Given COVID-19 infection and recovery data for a certain period, the RLIM is able to fit current values and produce an optimal set of parameters with a minimum error rate according to actual reported numbers. With these optimal parameters assigned, the RLIM model then becomes able to produce predictions of infection numbers within a certain period. To locate the turning point of COVID-19 transmission, an initial value for the secondary infection rate is given to the RLIM algorithm for calculation. RLIM will then calculate the secondary infection rates of a continuous time series with an iterative search strategy to speed up the convergence of the prediction outcomes and minimize the maximum square errors. Compared with other forecast algorithms, RLIM is able to adapt the COVID-19 infection curve faster and more accurately and, more importantly, provides a way to identify the turning point in virus transmission by searching for the equilibrium between recoveries and new infections. Simulations of four US states show that with the secondary infection rate ω initially set to 0.5 within the selected latent period of 14 days, RLIM is able to minimize this value at 0.07 and reach an equilibrium condition. A successful forecast is generated using New York state's COVID-19 transmission, in which a turning point is predicted to emerge on January 31, 2021.

Supplementary information

The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s11071-021-06520-1.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View