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Title: Using proper mean generation intervals in modeling of COVID-19
Authors: Tang, X
Musa, SS 
Zhao, S
Mei, S
He, D 
Issue Date: Jul-2021
Source: Frontiers in public health, July 2021, v. 9, 691262
Abstract: In susceptible–exposed–infectious–recovered (SEIR) epidemic models, with the exponentially distributed duration of exposed/infectious statuses, the mean generation interval (GI, time lag between infections of a primary case and its secondary case) equals the mean latent period (LP) plus the mean infectious period (IP). It was widely reported that the GI for COVID-19 is as short as 5 days. However, many works in top journals used longer LP or IP with the sum (i.e., GI), e.g., >7 days. This discrepancy will lead to overestimated basic reproductive number and exaggerated expectation of infection attack rate (AR) and control efficacy. We argue that it is important to use suitable epidemiological parameter values for proper estimation/prediction. Furthermore, we propose an epidemic model to assess the transmission dynamics of COVID-19 for Belgium, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). We estimated a time-varying reproductive number [R0(t)] based on the COVID-19 deaths data and we found that Belgium has the highest AR followed by Israel and the UAE.
Keywords: COVID-19
Generation interval
Infectious period
Latent period
Reproduction number
Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation
Journal: Frontiers in public health 
ISSN: 2296-2565
DOI: 10.3389/fpubh.2021.691262
Rights: © 2021 Tang, Musa, Zhao, Mei and He. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) ( The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
The following publication Tang X, Musa SS, Zhao S, Mei S and He D (2021) Using Proper Mean Generation Intervals in Modeling of COVID-19. Front. Public Health 9:691262 is available at
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