A Bayesian approach to improving spatial estimates of prevalence of COVID-19 after accounting for misclassification bias in surveillance data in Philadelphia, PA

Neal D. Goldstein, David C. Wheeler, Paul Gustafson, Igor Burstyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

© 2021 Elsevier Ltd Surveillance data obtained by public health agencies for COVID-19 are likely inaccurate due to undercounting and misdiagnosing. Using a Bayesian approach, we sought to reduce bias in the estimates of prevalence of COVID-19 in Philadelphia, PA at the ZIP code level. After evaluating various modeling approaches in a simulation study, we estimated true prevalence by ZIP code with and without conditioning on an area deprivation index (ADI). As of June 10, 2020, in Philadelphia, the observed citywide period prevalence was 1.5%. After accounting for bias in the surveillance data, the median posterior citywide true prevalence was 2.3% when accounting for ADI and 2.1% when not. Overall the median posterior surveillance sensitivity and specificity from the models were similar, about 60% and more than 99%, respectively. Surveillance of COVID-19 in Philadelphia tends to understate discrepancies in burden for the more affected areas, potentially misinforming mitigation priorities.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSpatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology
Volume36
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2021

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