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article imageWhy does the U.S. have a high and varied COVID-19 case count? Special

By Tim Sandle     Apr 29, 2020 in Health
Why is the U.S. COVID-19 case count data so variable to the extent that different bodies are producing widely varying numbers? According to one CEO, the U.S. needs a National COVID-19 Analytics Platform to resolve matters.
The U.S. has a relatively high number of COVID-19 cases compared to other high income countries (perhaps a reflection of the Trump Administration's relative slowness to take action). While the signal is clear, the actual case count varies between different institutions and news sites (compare, for example, the U.S. CDC and NBC).
Looking to why there are discrepancies with COVID-19 related data within the U.S., Buno Pati, CEO of Infoworks tells Digital Journal: "The discrepancies in data related to COVID-19 are not only notable, but also very significant. As an example, the CDC is reporting 802,583 total US cases and 44,575 deaths, Johns Hopkins is reporting 843, 981 US cases and 46,859 deaths, and Google is reporting 867,771 US cases and 48,900 deaths."
These variations are significant when it comes to the impact upon people's lives and also to the work of epidemiologists who are trying to make sense of the data, in order to track the spread of the virus and extent of infectivity. Such data also informs as to the type of 'lockdown measures required'.
Expanding on this, Pati notes: "The difference in the number of cases reported in these three examples is over 65,000 cases - more than the total cases being reported out of countries like Russia and Brazil."
Considering the U.S. response, Pati says: "If we as a nation are to make important decisions based on data, that data needs to be accurate, timely, and consistent. The only way to achieve that status is to create a National COVID-19 Analytics Platform that serves a single-source of truth with well-defined and transparent rules regarding how that data is collected and reported, and managed."
With such a platform, Pati explains: "The ability for analysts to access and quickly develop and explore predictive models and analytics is also crucial. To make good data-driven decisions, we need to be able to trust the data and without a trusted source of truth our decisions can easily be misguided.”
More about Covid19, data integrity, data discrepancies, coronavirus, Epidemiology
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