“CoronaSurveys: Using Indirect Reporting to Estimate the Incidence of Epidemics”

Speaker : Antonio Fernández Anta
IMDEA Networks
Date: 07/10/2020
Time: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm


The world is suffering from a pandemic called COVID-19, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. National governments have problems evaluating the reach of the epidemic, due to having limited resources and tests at their disposal. This problem is especially acute in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). Hence, any simple, cheap and flexible means of evaluating the incidence and evolution of the epidemic in a given country with a reasonable level of accuracy is useful.

In this talk, I will present the CoronaSurveys project (https://coronasurveys.org/). CoronaSurveys uses a technique based on (anonymous) surveys in which participants report on the health status of their contacts. This indirect reporting technique, known in the literature as network scale-up method, preserves the privacy of the participants and their contacts, and collects information from a larger fraction of the population (as compared to individual surveys). The CoronaSurveys project has been collecting reports for the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020. Results obtained by CoronaSurveys show the power and flexibility of the approach, suggesting that it could be an inexpensive and powerful tool to track the COVID-19 pandemic. This makes it especially interesting and useful for LMICs.


Dr. Antonio Fernández Anta is a Research Professor at IMDEA Networks.
Previously he was a Full Professor at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (URJC) and was on the Faculty of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), where he received an award for his research productivity. He was a postdoc at MIT from 1995 to 1997, and spent sabbatical years at Bell Labs Murray Hill and MIT Media Lab. He has been awarded the Premio Nacional de Informática “Aritmel” in 2019 and is a Mercator Fellow of the SFB MAKI in Germany since 2018. He has more than 25 years of research experience, and more than 200 scientific publications. He was the Chair of the Steering Committee of DISC and has served in the TPC of numerous conferences and workshops. He received his M.Sc. and Ph.D. from the University of SW Louisiana in 1992 and 1994, respectively. He completed his undergraduate studies at the UPM, having received awards at the university and national level for his academic performance. He is a Senior Member of ACM and IEEE.