The limitations and high false-negative rates (30%) of COVID-19 test kits have been a prominent challenge during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. Manufacturing those kits and performing the tests require extensive resources and time. Recent studies show that radiological images like chest X-rays can offer a more efficient solution and faster initial screening of COVID-19 patients. In this study, we develop a COVID-19 diagnosis model using Multilayer Perceptron and Convolutional Neural Network (MLP-CNN) for mixed-data (numerical/categorical and image data). The model predicts and differentiates between COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients, such that early diagnosis of the virus can be initiated, leading to timely isolation and treatments to stop further spread of the disease. We also explore the benefits of using numerical/categorical data in association with chest X-ray images for screening COVID-19 patients considering both balanced and imbalanced datasets. Three different optimization algorithms are used and tested:adaptive learning rate optimization algorithm (Adam), stochastic gradient descent (Sgd), and root mean square propagation (Rmsprop). Preliminary computational results show that, on a balanced dataset, a model trained with Adam can distinguish between COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients with a higher accuracy of 96.3%. On the imbalanced dataset, the model trained with Rmsprop outperformed all other models by achieving an accuracy of 95.38%. Additionally, our proposed model outperformed selected existing deep learning models (considering only chest X-ray or CT scan images) by producing an overall average accuracy of 94.6% ± 3.42%.
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