In the midst of Sydney’s most recent COVID lockdown, Australians have managed to find some comedic relief in the form of TikTok guy Jon-Bernard Kairouz’ daily case predictions, which have proven correct five days in a row now. But a popular theory as to how he’s been on the money has proven incorrect.
Australian journalist Emily Barton took to Twitter overnight to hypothesise that Kairouz could be using the Coronavirus Australia app to make his findings using some extremely basic maths. This would probably make him the only person in Australia to actually use this app.
In a now-deleted tweet, Barton claimed she had “figured this out.”
“I cannot believe I’ve only just figured this out… But the federal government’s coronavirus app updates the total cases of covid in each state at 8pm daily. First screenshot was taken this morning, second just now. Minus this morning from this evening – 109 cases tomorrow,” she claimed.
Interestingly, Jon-Bernard later posted his own prediction, which also happened to be 109 cases. We’ll see at 11am if this is correct when NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announces the official tally.
— Jon-Bernard Kairouz (@jonbernardk) July 18, 2021
However, it’s not quite that simple because the figures Barton is referring to actually account for the previous day’s cases — including cases in hotel quarantine.
The figure that is released in the federal government’s app at 8pm daily is that of cases already announced in that day’s press conference. However, many have confused this for the following day’s figure.
“This page provides updates about the current situation, latest case numbers and related information. It is updated every day by 9 pm AEST and reflects the previous 24 hours,” the website reads.
According to NSW Health, the state recorded 109 cases in the 24 hours up to 8pm on July 17, 105 locally acquired, plus 4 in hotel quarantine. Therefore proving that Barton’s calculations are actually just validating the information NSW Health had already released.
When approached by Gizmodo Australia, Kairouz denied that he was using the app to make his predictions, continuing to assert that he is “a true genius of our time.”
“Thanks for reaching out. But after having perfectly calculated the numbers for 5 days in a row I am greatly offended that you would insinuate that a simple app is used to get the data. It just disrespectful to the hard work and mathematical process that is conducted each and every day. For people that are still doubting the maths, you are just missing out on a true genius of our time,” he told Gizmodo Australia.
Now that this theory has been effectively debunked, we’re back to the drawing board when it comes to how Kairouz is getting the numbers. Either, he’s a mathematical genius and NSW Health should give him a job, or he’s got an inside source that is leaking the data to him ahead of Berejiklian’s press conferences.
However, Kairouz has repeatedly denied having an inside source and even went so far as to tell News.com.au that NSW Health has accused him of “compromising the public health system.”
Either way, it’s making for some pretty viral TikTok content.
Gizmodo Australia has reached out to NSW Health for comment.