Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Was School Closure Effective in Mitigating Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)? Time Series Analysis Using Bayesian Inference

Version 1 : Received: 4 April 2020 / Approved: 6 April 2020 / Online: 6 April 2020 (13:11:12 CEST)

How to cite: Iwata, K.; Doi, A.; Miyakoshi, C. Was School Closure Effective in Mitigating Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)? Time Series Analysis Using Bayesian Inference. Preprints 2020, 2020040058 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202004.0058.v1). Iwata, K.; Doi, A.; Miyakoshi, C. Was School Closure Effective in Mitigating Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)? Time Series Analysis Using Bayesian Inference. Preprints 2020, 2020040058 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202004.0058.v1).

Abstract

Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic are causing significant damages to many nations. For mitigating its risk, Japan’s Prime Minister called on all elementary, junior high and high schools nationwide to close beginning March 1, 2020. However, its effectiveness in decreasing disease burden has not been investigated. Methods: We used daily data on the report of COVID-19 and coronavirus infection incidence in Japan until March 31, 2020. Time series analysis were conducted using Bayesian method. Local linear trend models with interventional effect were constructed for number of newly reported cases of COVID-19, including asymptomatic infections. We considered that the effects of intervention start to appear 9 days after the school closure; i.e., on March 9. Results: The intervention of school closure did not appear to decrease the incidence of coronavirus infection. If the effectiveness of school closure began on March 9, mean coefficient α for effectiveness of the measure was calculated to be 0.08 (95% credible interval -0.36 to 0.65), and the actual reported cases were more than predicted, yet with rather wide credible interval. Sensitivity analyses using different dates also showed similar results. Conclusions: School closure carried out in Japan did not show the effectiveness to mitigate the transmission of novel coronavirus infection.

Subject Areas

coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); school closure; time series analysis; Japan

Comments (1)

Comment 1
Received: 8 April 2020
The commenter has declared there is no conflict of interests.
Comment: I think you need to refer to the definition of "School Closure" in this paper.

I think Japanese School Closure was not effective in mitigating COVID-19 because the school closure was incomplete. Japanese School Closure during that period was quite different from the school closure in US and other countries.

I know that many Japanese students went to school even after Prime Minister called on school closure. Many Japanese students needed to go to school during those period although it is not the regular school (BUNSAN TOUKOU) . Some school even provided school lunch at school during the period although it did not happen in all school and not every day.
In addition, some school grounds were open for students and students played in the school yard. We saw lots of students played in the public park too.
Furthermore, some school provided Day care service for students at school (GAKUDO HOIKU) .

If all the Japanese school were completely closed, I think you can say that Japanese School Closure was not effective in mitigating COVID-19 from your data. However, since many Japanese schools were not completely closed like in US and other country, it would be better for you to refer to the definition of "School Closure" in this paper, I think.
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