Follow us
Publications Commentary Research People Events News Resources and Videos About IFS
Home Publications Estimating the Fraction of Unreported Infections in Epidemics with a Known Epicenter: an Application to COVID-19

Estimating the Fraction of Unreported Infections in Epidemics with a Known Epicenter: an Application to COVID-19

Ali Hortacsu, Jiarui Liu and Timothy Schwieg
Cemmap Working Paper CWP21/20

We develop an analytically tractable method to estimate the fraction of unreported infections in epidemics with a known epicenter and estimate the number of unreported COVID-19 infections in the U.S. during the first half of March 2020. Our method utilizes the covariation in initial reported infections across U.S. regions and the number of travelers to these regions from the epicenter, along with the results of an early randomized testing study in Iceland. Using our estimates of the number of unreported infections, which are substantially larger than the number of reported infections, we also provide estimates for the infection fatality rate using data on reported COVID-19 fatalities from U.S. counties.

Coronavirus podcast

More on this topic

Book chapter
Ambulance
IFS Working Paper W21/26
MPCs were directly elicited from a representative sample of UK adults in July 2020 using receipt of a hypothetical unanticipated, one-time income payment. Reported MPCs are modest, around 11% on average.