Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12105/13863
Retrospective methodology to estimate daily infections from deaths (REMEDID) in COVID-19: the Spain case study
Sci Rep . 2021 May 28;11(1):11274.
The number of new daily infections is one of the main parameters to understand the dynamics of an epidemic. During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, however, such information has been underestimated. Here, we propose a retrospective methodology to estimate daily infections from daily deaths, because those are usually more accurately documented. Given the incubation period, the time from illness onset to death, and the case fatality ratio, the date of death can be estimated from the date of infection. We apply this idea conversely to estimate infections from deaths. This methodology is applied to Spain and its 19 administrative regions. Our results showed that probable daily infections during the first wave were between 35 and 42 times more than those officially documented on 14 March, when the national government decreed a national lockdown and 9 times more than those documented by the updated version of the official data. The national lockdown had a strong effect on the growth rate of virus transmission, which began to decrease immediately. Finally, the first inferred infection in Spain is about 43 days before the official data were available during the first wave. The current official data show delays of 15-30 days in the first infection relative to the inferred infections in 63% of the regions. In summary, we propose a methodology that allows reinterpretation of official daily infections, improving data accuracy in infection magnitude and dates because it assimilates valuable information from the National Seroprevalence Studies.
Biological models | Epidemiology | Infectious diseases | Population dynamics | Public health | Software | Viral infection