Journal of Epidemiology and Global Health

In Press, Corrected Proof, Available Online: 20 January 2021

COVID-19: Nothing is Normal in this Pandemic

Authors
Luzia Gonçalves1, 2, *, ORCID, Maria Antónia Amaral Turkman2, ORCID, Carlos Geraldes2, 3, ORCID, Tiago A. Marques2, 4, 5, ORCID, Lisete Sousa2, 6, ORCID
1Global Health and Tropical Medicine, Unidade de Saúde Pública Internacional e Bioestatística, Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, Rua da Junqueira 100, Lisboa 1349-008, Portugal
2CEAUL - Centro de Estatística e Aplicações, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal
3ISEL - Instituto Superior de Engenharia de Lisboa – Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa, Portugal
4Departamento de Biologia Animal, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal
5Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling, The Observatory, University of St Andrews, Scotland
6Departamento de Estatística e Investigação Operacional, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal
*Corresponding author. Email: luziag@ihmt.unl.pt
Corresponding Author
Luzia Gonçalves
Received 31 August 2020, Accepted 12 December 2020, Available Online 20 January 2021.
DOI
https://doi.org/10.2991/jegh.k.210108.001How to use a DOI?
Keywords
Epidemic curve, normal distribution, log-normal distribution, Gaussian curve, COVID-19
Abstract

This manuscript brings attention to inaccurate epidemiological concepts that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic. In social media and scientific journals, some wrong references were given to a “normal epidemic curve” and also to a “log-normal curve/distribution”. For many years, textbooks and courses of reputable institutions and scientific journals have disseminated misleading concepts. For example, calling histogram to plots of epidemic curves or using epidemic data to introduce the concept of a Gaussian distribution, ignoring its temporal indexing. Although an epidemic curve may look like a Gaussian curve and be eventually modelled by a Gauss function, it is not a normal distribution or a log-normal, as some authors claim. A pandemic produces highly-complex data and to tackle it effectively statistical and mathematical modelling need to go beyond the “one-size-fits-all solution”. Classical textbooks need to be updated since pandemics happen and epidemiology needs to provide reliable information to policy recommendations and actions.

Copyright
© 2021 The Authors. Published by Atlantis Press International B.V.
Open Access
This is an open access article distributed under the CC BY-NC 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/).

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Journal
Journal of Epidemiology and Global Health
Publication Date
2021/01
ISSN (Online)
2210-6014
ISSN (Print)
2210-6006
DOI
https://doi.org/10.2991/jegh.k.210108.001How to use a DOI?
Copyright
© 2021 The Authors. Published by Atlantis Press International B.V.
Open Access
This is an open access article distributed under the CC BY-NC 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/).

Cite this article

TY  - JOUR
AU  - Luzia Gonçalves
AU  - Maria Antónia Amaral Turkman
AU  - Carlos Geraldes
AU  - Tiago A. Marques
AU  - Lisete Sousa
PY  - 2021
DA  - 2021/01
TI  - COVID-19: Nothing is Normal in this Pandemic
JO  - Journal of Epidemiology and Global Health
SN  - 2210-6014
UR  - https://doi.org/10.2991/jegh.k.210108.001
DO  - https://doi.org/10.2991/jegh.k.210108.001
ID  - Gonçalves2021
ER  -