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Researchers alert of the need for detailed Covid-19 population data

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Researchers from the CED-UAB, the Max Planck Institute, the UPC and the IDAEA-CSIC alert of the need for more detailed population data regarding Covid-19 in Spain in a letter published on 10 October in the scientific journal The Lancet Public Health.


The authors pose examples of other countries providing open and detailed data on different Covid-19 metrics seperated by age and gender, and which is helping to compare the evolution of the pandemic in different countries.

In a letter entitiled The need for detailed Covid-19 data in Spain, published on Saturday 10 October in the journal The Lancet Public Health, researchers from different areas of the CED-UAB, the Max Planck Institute, the UPC and the IDAEA-CSIC expose the difficulties in not having data classified by age and gender of those affected by SARS-CoV2 in Spain, which hinders a better understanding of the dymanics of this pandemic.

The letter is signed by a team led by demographer Sergi Trias-Llimós from the Centre for Demographic Studies-Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (CED-UAB); Ainhoa Alustiza and Tim Riffe from the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research; Clara Prats from the Department of Physics and the research group in Computational Biology of Complex Systems (BIOCOM-SC) at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC); and Aurelio Tobias from the Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA-CSIC). The letter can be read here. 

The researchers explain in the letter that Spain is one of the European countries most affected by Covid-19. At the end of September more than 700,000 people tested positive and there were over 31,000 deaths with a positive test.

In view of these facts, the authors of the text affirm that throughout the past weeks there have been changes and some improvements made by the Ministry for Health with regard to the information and data shared with citizens. Nevertheless, these changes do not imply an improvement in the level of detail of the data provided, nor the format in which it is offered. The detailed data per age and gender on positive cases and deaths are only published in PDF format and in a series that begins in May, making it difficult to compare with other available data.

The authors provide examples of other countries releasing exhaustive updates on different Covid-19 metrics seperated by age and gender, and that this is helping to compare the evolution of the pandemic in different countries.

At the same time, the letter acknowledges that the management of data is the competence of each autonomous community. According to the researchers, some autonomous communities do offer detailed data, although not necessarily in the same format or with the same definitions. The majority however do not publish open data on their websites.



This information is related to the following SDG