What Is the Active Prevalence of COVID-19?

25 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2020

See all articles by Mu-Jeung Yang

Mu-Jeung Yang

David Eccles School of Business, University of Utah

Nathan Seegert

University of Utah - Department of Finance

Maclean Gaulin

University of Utah - David Eccles School of Business

Adam Looney

Brookings Institution; U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Tax Analysis (OTA)

Brian Orleans

University of Utah - School of Medicine

Andrew Pavia

University of Utah

Kristina Stratford

University of Utah

Matthew Samore

University of Utah - School of Medicine

Steven Alder

University of Utah

Date Written: November 20, 2020

Abstract

We provide a method to track active prevalence of COVID-19 in real time, correcting for time-varying sample selection in symptom-based testing data and incomplete tracking of recovered cases and fatalities. Our method only requires publicly available data on positive testing rates in combination with one parameter, which we estimate based on a representative randomized sample of nearly 10,000 individuals tested in Utah. The method correctly predicts prevalence in two state-wide, representative randomized testing studies. Applying our method to all 50 states we show that true prevalence is 2--3 times higher than publicly reported.

Note: Funding: This project was funded by the State of Utah.

Declaration of Interest: None to declare

Keywords: Coronavirus, Testing, Random Sampling, Real-time prevalence tracking

JEL Classification: I15, I18, J68

Suggested Citation

Yang, Mu-Jeung and Seegert, Nathan and Gaulin, Maclean and Looney, Adam and Orleans, Brian and Pavia, Andrew and Stratford, Kristina and Samore, Matthew and Alder, Steven, What Is the Active Prevalence of COVID-19? (November 20, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3734463 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3734463

Mu-Jeung Yang

David Eccles School of Business, University of Utah

Nathan Seegert (Contact Author)

University of Utah - Department of Finance ( email )

David Eccles School of Business
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
United States

Maclean Gaulin

University of Utah - David Eccles School of Business ( email )

1645 E Campus Center Dr
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-9303
United States
801.585.0324 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://mgaulin.com

Adam Looney

Brookings Institution ( email )

1775 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States
2027976068 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.brookings.edu/experts/looneya.aspx

U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Tax Analysis (OTA) ( email )

1500 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20220
United States

Brian Orleans

University of Utah - School of Medicine ( email )

Salt Lake City, UT
United States

Andrew Pavia

University of Utah ( email )

1645 E. Campus Center
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
United States

Kristina Stratford

University of Utah ( email )

1645 E. Campus Center
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
United States

Matthew Samore

University of Utah - School of Medicine ( email )

Salt Lake City, UT
United States

Steven Alder

University of Utah ( email )

1645 E. Campus Center
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
United States

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