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The effect of laboratory testing on COVID-19 monitoring indicators: an analysis of the 50 countries with the highest number of cases




Coronavirus Infections, Health Status Indicators, Testing Strategies, Incidence, Mortality, SARS-CoV-2


Objective: To analyze how population testing influences the health indicators used to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic in the 50 countries with the highest number of diagnosed cases. Methods: Ecological study, with secondary data, downloaded on 8/19/2020. Accumulated incidence, mortality rate, case-fatality rate, and proportion of positive tests were calculated. The data were described and presented graphically, with the respective Spearman Correlation Coefficient. Results: The testing rate varied enormously between countries. The accumulated incidence and the proportion of positive tests were correlated with the number of tests, while the mortality rate and case-fatality rate showed a low correlation with this indicator. Conclusion: Most countries do not test enough to ensure adequate monitoring of the pandemic, reflecting on the quality of the indicators. The expansion of the number of tests is essential, but it needs to be accompanied by other measures, such as isolation of diagnosed cases and contact tracking.


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Health Sciences