CoronaSurveys: Using Indirect Reporting to Estimate the Incidence of Epidemics
The world is suffering from a pandemic called COVID-19, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. National governments have problems evaluating the reach of the epidemic, due to having limited resources and tests at their disposal. This problem is especially acute in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). Hence, any simple, cheap and flexible means of evaluating the incidence and evolution of the epidemic in a given country with a reasonable level of accuracy is useful. In this talk, I will present the CoronaSurveys project. CoronaSurveys uses a technique based on (anonymous) surveys in which participants report on the health status of their contacts. This indirect reporting technique, known in the literature as network scale-up method, preserves the privacy of the participants and their contacts, and collects information from a larger fraction of the population (as compared to individual surveys). The CoronaSurveys project has been collecting reports for the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020. Results obtained by CoronaSurveys show the power and flexibility of the approach, suggesting that it could be an inexpensive and powerful tool to track the COVID-19 pandemic. This makes it especially interesting and useful for LMICs.