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Nature Computational Science ; 2(9):584-594, 2022.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-2077127


Reliably estimating the dynamics of transmissible diseases from noisy surveillance data is an enduring problem in modern epidemiology. Key parameters are often inferred from incident time series, with the aim of informing policy-makers on the growth rate of outbreaks or testing hypotheses about the effectiveness of public health interventions. However, the reliability of these inferences depends critically on reporting errors and latencies innate to the time series. Here, we develop an analytical framework to quantify the uncertainty induced by under-reporting and delays in reporting infections, as well as a metric for ranking surveillance data informativeness. We apply this metric to two primary data sources for inferring the instantaneous reproduction number: epidemic case and death curves. We find that the assumption of death curves as more reliable, commonly made for acute infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and influenza, is not obvious and possibly untrue in many settings. Our framework clarifies and quantifies how actionable information about pathogen transmissibility is lost due to surveillance limitations. © 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature America, Inc.

Wellcome Open Research ; 5, 2021.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-1471171


Background: As of August 2021, every region of the world has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 196,000,000 cases worldwide. Methods: We analysed COVID-19 cases among travellers from mainland China to different regions and countries, comparing the region- and country-specific rates of detected and confirmed cases per flight volume to estimate the relative sensitivity of surveillance in different regions and countries. Results: Although travel restrictions from Wuhan City and other cities across China may have reduced the absolute number of travellers to and from China, we estimated that up to 70% (95% CI: 54% - 80%) of imported cases could remain undetected relative to the sensitivity of surveillance in Singapore. The percentage of undetected imported cases rises to 75% (95% CI 66% - 82%) when comparing to the surveillance sensitivity in multiple countries. Conclusions: Our analysis shows that a large number of COVID-19 cases remain undetected across the world. These undetected cases potentially resulted in multiple chains of human-to-human transmission outside mainland China. © 2021 Bhatia S et al.

Wellcome Open Research ; 5:143, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1464042


Background: Since the start of the COVID-19 epidemic in late 2019, there have been more than 152 affected regions and countries with over 110,000 confirmed cases outside mainland China.