Can the reported COVID-19 data tell us the truth? Scrutinizing the data from the measurement error models perspective
The mystery of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the lack of effective treatment for COVID-19 have presented a strikingly negative impact on public health. While research on COVID-19 has been ramping up rapidly, a very important yet overlooked challenge is on the quality and unique features of COVID-19 data. The manifestations of COVID-19 are not yet well understood. The swift spread of the virus is largely attributed to its stealthy transmissions in which infected patients may be asymptomatic or exhibit only flu-like symptoms in the early stage. Due to the limited test resources and a good portion of asymptomatic infections, the confirmed cases are typically under-reported, error-contaminated, and involved with substantial noise. If the drastic effects of faulty data are not being addressed, analysis results of the COVID-19 data can be seriously biased.
In this talk, I will discuss the issues induced from faulty COVID-19 data and how they may challenge inferential procedures. I will describe a strategy of employing measurement error models to address the error effects. Sensitivity analyses will be conducted to quantify the impact of faulty data for different scenarios. In addition, I will present a website of COVID-19 Canada (https://covid-19-canada.uwo.ca/), developed by the team co-led by Dr. Wenqing He and myself, which provides comprehensive and real-time visualization of the Canadian COVID-19 data.