Wisdom of the crowds in forecasting COVID-19 spreading severity

In this work we report that the public reacted on social media at an early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic in a surprisingly accurate way, with activity levels reflecting the severity of the contagion figures registered almost a month later. Specifically, the intensity of COVID-related social media activity from different Italian regions at the beginning of the epidemic (21-24/2/2020), predicts well the total number of deaths reached almost a month later (21/3/2020) in each region. It should be noted that at the time of the initial twitter reaction no tabled regional data on the epidemic was readily available. By the 24th February 2020 only two regions reported death cases and only three reported infected subjects.
by Jeremy Turiel and Tomaso Aste
Download the complete paper PDF below (UPDATED)

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