Title: Are official confirmed cases and fatalities counts good enough to study the COVID{19 pandemic dynamics? A critical assessment through the case of Italy.
Citation: NONLINEAR DYNAMICS vol. 101 no. 3 p. 1951-1979
Publisher: SPRINGER
Publication Year: 2020
JRC N°: JRC120582
ISSN: 0924-090X (online)
URI: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11071-020-05761-w
DOI: 10.1007/s11071-020-05761-w
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: As the COVID-19 outbreak is developing the two most frequently reported statistics seem to be the raw confirmed cases and case fatalities counts. Focusing on Italy, one of the hardest hit countries, we look at how these two values could be put in perspective to reflect the dynamics of the virus spread. In particular, we find that merely considering the confirmed case counts would be very misleading as the fraction of confirmed cases to total tests is essentially constant through time, meaning that the raw confirmed case counts seem to be assessing the sampling effort. Therefore, calibrating model parameters for this virus's dynamics should not be done based on confirmed case counts, but maybe rather on case fatalities or hospitalization data. Furthermore, reporting statistics on the national level does not say much about the dynamics of the disease, which are taking place at the regional level. In this work we do not fit models but we rather investigate whether this task is possible at all. This work also provides a tool to collect and harmonize official statistics coming from different sources in the form of a package for the R statistical environment and presents the "COVID-19 Data Hub".
JRC Directorate:Space, Security and Migration

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