The world is suffering from a pandemic called COVID-19, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. National governments have problems evaluating the reach of the epidemic, due to having limited resources and tests at their disposal. This problem is especially acute in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). Hence, any simple, cheap and flexible means of evaluating the incidence and evolution of the epidemic in a given country with a reasonable level of accuracy is useful. In this paper, we propose a technique based on (anonymous) surveys in which participants report on the health status of their contacts. This indirect reporting technique, known in the literature as network scale-up method, preserves the privacy of the participants and their contacts, and collects information from a larger fraction of the population (as compared to individual surveys). This technique has been deployed in the CoronaSurveys project, which has been collecting reports for the COVID-19 pandemic for more than two months. Results obtained by CoronaSurveys show the power and flexibility of the approach, suggesting that it could be an inexpensive and powerful tool for LMICs.

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Ojo, O., García-Agundez, A., Girault, B., Hernández, H., Cabana, E., García-García, A., Arabshahi, P., Baquero, C., Casari, P., Ferreira, E., Frey, D., Georgiou, C., Goessens, M., Ishchenko, A., Jiménez, E., Kebkal, O., Lillo, R., Menezes, R., Nicolaou, N., Ortega, A., Patras, P., Roberts, J., Stavrakis, E., Tanaka, Y. & Anta, A. 2020, 'CoronaSurveys: Using Surveys with Indirect Reporting to Estimate the Incidence and Evolution of Epidemics'. To be published in arXiv.org [Preprint]. Available at: https://www.research.ed.ac.uk/portal/en/publications/coronasurveys-using-surveys-with-indirect-reporting-to-estimate-the-incidence-and-evolution-of-epidemics(9ad7efe5-0a69-470e-8794-82bc5fba840a).html

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Last updated: 17 June 2022
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