College of Economic & Management Sciences

CEMS economists compile weekly Covid-19 report

Prof Nicholas Odhiambo, Head: MPA Research Flagship Programme, Department of Economics, College of Economic and Management Sciences

The Macroeconomic Policy Analysis (MPA) Research Flagship Programme of the Department of Economics in Unisa’s College of Economic and Management Sciences (CEMS) is compiling a weekly report with information on the Covid-19 cases in South Africa, Africa and globally.

The report includes information on infections, recoveries and deaths. They are also monitoring the number of tests conducted vis-à-vis the number of positive cases. Although these economists are not medical doctors or epidemiologists, they felt that they could make a contribution to fighting this pandemic by processing the Covid-19 cases reported on a daily basis.

The report, which is currently circulated and shared within the institution and externally with Universities South Africa and the Ministry of Higher Education, includes rankings based on the

  1. total number of infections
  2. number of infections per capita
  3. number of active cases
  4. number of active cases per capita
  5. number of Covid-19-related deaths
  6. number of Covid-19 deaths (% of total cases)
  7. number of Covid-19 recovered cases
  8. number of recovered cases (% of total infections)
  9. number of tests conducted per capita
  10. Covid-19 testing intensity

"Per capita cases", in this case, refer to the total cases reported relative to the total population of a province or a country. For readability purposes, all the per capita cases are expressed per 100 000 population. Unlike "per capita tests", which show the number of tests conducted relative to the total population, the "testing intensity indicator" measures the number of tests conducted for every positive case reported.

According to Prof Nicholas Odhiambo, the head of the MPA programme, they intend to continue producing the report on a weekly basis.

Since different countries issue daily reports in different time zones, they normally retrieve data on a Saturday when all the reports of Friday cases from all the countries have been captured on Worldometer. From Issue 6, they will be preparing a consolidated Covid-19 report that shows all the weekly cases reported the previous four weeks. They feel strongly that this will enable readers to see the epidemiological trends of the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa, Africa and internationally. The report could assist countries in conducting their own risk assessment based on the trends of the Covid-19 cases they report on a weekly/monthly basis.

Odhiambo warned that the report should be read with caution, because they do not collect the data themselves, but use data obtained from Worldometer and other sources. Therefore, they cannot guarantee that there are no errors or omissions, and a caveat and disclaimer are included in the report.

Unfortunately, owing to the amount of time spent every week collecting data and compiling the report, they do not intend to analyse the reports at present. As indicated in the caveat/disclaimer, the report is compiled for information purposes only.

* Submitted by Prof Nicholas M Odhiambo, Head: Macroeconomic Policy Analysis Research Flagship Programme, Department of Economics

Publish date: 2020/06/10

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