Several countries openly release coherent and exhaustive daily updates of age-specific and sex-specific COVID-19 cases, deaths, hospitalisations and, more recently, vaccinations, whereas other countries still have trouble providing detailed and harmonised data.
Despite this forecast, some European governments are considering treating COVID-19 as an endemic illness. This change would establish an epidemiological surveillance system similar to those used for primary-care sentinel influenza-like illnesses, prompting a substantial loss of follow-up in data collection of the usual daily indicators (eg, incident cases, hospitalisations, intensive care unit admissions, and deaths) and contact tracing. Moreover, breaking key time-trends in the current indicators would make evaluating future health policy interventions, analysing vaccination procedures, and comparing outcomes across countries and over time challenging.
A substantial number of people with COVID-19 have long COVID. WHO estimates that about 20% of people with COVID-19 have continuing symptoms 4–5 weeks after testing positive, and 10% have symptoms after 12 weeks.
However, most studies focus on symptomatology, and surveillance of long COVID is not yet routine in European countries. Consequently, detailed population data is necessary to understand the prevalence and mechanisms of long COVID in different population groups, patients’ needs in health and social services, and the economic consequences.
COVID-19 data should also be linked with national health and social registries to monitor the effect of current and potential new variants and the effect of long COVID on the population.
We declare no competing interests.
Accurate statistics on COVID-19 are essential for policy guidance and decisions.
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Published: February 04, 2022
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd.
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