Currently submitted to: Journal of Medical Internet Research
Date Submitted: Oct 19, 2020
Open Peer Review Period: Oct 19, 2020 - Dec 14, 2020
(currently open for review)
Novel Machine-Learned Approach for COVID-19 Resource Allocation: A Tool for Evaluating Community Susceptibility
Despite worldwide efforts to develop an effective COVID vaccine, it is quite evident that initial supplies will be limited. Therefore, it is important to develop methods that will ensure that the COVID vaccine is allocated to the people who are at major risk until there is a sufficient global supply.
The purpose of this study was to develop a machine-learning tool that could be applied to assess the risk in Massachusetts towns based on community-wide social, medical, and lifestyle risk factors.
I compiled Massachusetts town data for 29 potential risk factors, such as the prevalence of preexisting comorbid conditions like COPD and social factors such as racial composition, and implemented logistic regression to predict the amount of COVID cases in each town.
Of the 29 factors, 14 were found to be significant (p < 0.1) indicators: poverty, food insecurity, lack of high school education, lack of health insurance coverage, premature mortality, population, population density, recent population growth, Asian percentage, high-occupancy housing, and preexisting prevalence of cancer, COPD, overweightness, and heart attacks. The machine-learning approach is 80% accurate in the state of Massachusetts and finds the 9 highest risk communities: Lynn, Brockton, Revere, Randolph, Lowell, New Bedford, Everett, Waltham, and Fitchburg. The 5 most at-risk counties are Suffolk, Middlesex, Bristol, Norfolk, and Plymouth.
With appropriate data, the tool could evaluate risk in other communities, or even enumerate individual patient susceptibility. A ranking of communities by risk may help policymakers ensure equitable allocation of limited doses of the COVID vaccine.
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