Accurate Statistics on COVID-19 Are Essential for Policy Guidance and Decisions

Neil Pearce, PhD; Jan P. Vandenbroucke, MD, PhD; Tyler J. VanderWeele, PhD; Sander Greenland, DrPH, MS


Am J Public Health. 2020;110(7):949-951. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Disease surveillance forms the basis for response to epidemics. COVID-19 provides a modern example of why the classic mantra of "person, place, and time" remains crucial: epidemic control requires knowing trends in disease frequency in different subgroups and locations. We review key epidemiological concepts and discuss some of the preventable methodologic errors that have arisen in reporting on the COVID-19 crisis.