Estimating COVID-19 Under-Reporting Across 86 Nations: Implications for Projections and Control

93 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2020 Last revised: 4 Aug 2020

See all articles by Hazhir Rahmandad

Hazhir Rahmandad

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

TY Lim

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management, Students

John Sterman

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Date Written: August 3, 2020

Abstract

COVID-19 prevalence and mortality remain uncertain. For all 86 countries with reliable testing data we estimate how asymptomatic transmission, disease acuity, hospitalization, and behavioral responses to risk shape pandemic dynamics. Estimated cumulative cases and deaths through 10 July 2020 are 10.5 and 1.47 times official reports, yielding an infection fatality rate (IFR) of 0.65%, with wide variation across nations. Despite underestimation, herd immunity remains distant. Sufficient early testing could have averted 39.7 (35.3-45.3) million cases and 218 (191-257) thousand deaths. Responses to perceived risk cause the reproduction number to settle near 1, but with very different steady-state incidence, while some nations experience endogenous rebounds. Scenarios through March 2021 show modest enhancements in responsiveness could reduce cumulative cases ≈80%, to 271 (254-412) million across these nations.

Note: Funding: No funding was used to conduct this study.

Conflict of Interest: The authors declare no competing interests.

Keywords: COVID-19, Infection, Simulation, Asymptomatic, Infection Fatality Rate, Testing

JEL Classification: I1

Suggested Citation

Rahmandad, Hazhir and Lim, Tse Yang and Sterman, John, Estimating COVID-19 Under-Reporting Across 86 Nations: Implications for Projections and Control (August 3, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3635047

Hazhir Rahmandad (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

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Cambridge, MA 02142
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Tse Yang Lim

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management, Students ( email )

Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

John Sterman

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

E62-436
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States
617-253-1951 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://jsterman.scripts.mit.edu/

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