Local Businesses Collaborate to Empower Australians
The current pandemic has brought public health information to the forefront of all our lives. However, with so much data flooding our every day, it can be hard to make sense of it all. BBMT Consulting and Mude Creative have teamed up to produce an animated explainer video depicting the uncertainty behind the official number of cases in our communities. Our goal is to help everyday Australians make better informed decisions on public health advice.
BBMT Consulting is a boutique data consultancy founded and based in Canberra. Currently working with several Federal Government Departments, BBMT uses data to understand public needs, solve complex problems, inform policy and build digital capability.
Mude is a creative agency operating in Canberra and Sydney since 2015. Working with SMEs, corporate and government, Mude helps organisations build meaningful connections with their audiences through brand, digital and video services..
Methodology & Data Sources
Additional Asymptomatic Case Methodology
When asked about the number of people who have no symptoms but can still carry the virus, Dr. Anthony Fauci estimated “it’s somewhere between 25% and 50%”.
Fauci, Dr. Anthony, 2020, [Press Briefing], Washington D.C., 5th April.
At this point in time (April 2020), in the absence of widespread antibody testing, this estimate seems reasonable based on the various studies listed below under “Other Data Sources”.
This 25%-50% represents the proportion of total COVID-19 cases not exhibiting any symptoms (asymptomatic cases). For simplicity, we assumed the half-way point of 37.5%. This estimate was used to calculate the additional amount of asymptomatic cases, represented as a percentage of symptomatic cases.
If we assume 37.5% of cases are asymptomatic, 62.5% of cases are symptomatic. Therefore, this 37.5% as a proportion of the 62.5% is: (0.375/0.625) = 60%. This should be read as “it is estimated an extra 60% of cases don’t show any symptoms.”
The estimated mean symptomatic case detection rate for Australia was 93%.
In ACT: The video highlighted, for every 100 symptomatic cases, the potential amount of people infected in the community. For simplicity, one scenario utilised an 85% symptomatic case detection rate (roughly ACT’s estimated mean symptomatic detection rate) and another at 30% (roughly the lower bound for ACT’s 95% confidence interval). This assumes those who test positive follow stay-at-home orders.
Price, D et al. (2020), Estimating the case detection rate and temporal variation in transmission of COVID-19 in Australia Technical Report 14th April 2020, [online], Available at: https://www.doherty.edu.au/uploads/content_doc/Estimating_changes_in_the_transmission_of_COVID-19_April14-public-release.pdf [Accessed: 18th March 2020]
AFP SBS, (2020), Brazil tops 10,000 deaths from coronavirus, SBS, [online], Available at: https://www.sbs.com.au/news/
Bazaraa, D, (2020), Coronavirus LIVE updates: Police could carry out spot checks on homes to enforce quarantine, The Mirror, [online], Available at: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/
Clench, S, (2020), Coronavirus: Australia first country in world to test 1 per cent of its population, News Pty Ltd, [online], Available at: https://www.news.com.au/
Jordan, F, (2020), US coronavirus death toll reaches 80,000 on Mother’s Day, Sydney Morning Herald, [online], Available at: https://www.smh.com.au/world/
Murphy, Brendan, 2020, [Press Conference], Canberra, 3rd April. https://www.pm.gov.au/media/press-conference-australian-parliament-house-act-030420
Other Data Sources
Arango, T et al., White House Adviser Warned of Risks of Pandemic; Trump Misleads on Testing, New York Times, [online], Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/06/world/coronavirus-live-news-updates.html [Accessed 18th March 2020]
Daalder, M, (2020), 2.2 percent of NZ Covid-19 cases asymptomatic, Newsroom, [online], Available at: https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2020/05/09/1161521/22-of-new-zealand-covid-19-cases-asymptomatic [Accessed 18th March 2020]
Day, M, (2020), Covid-19: identifying and isolating asymptomatic people helped eliminate virus in Italian village, The British Medical Journal, [online], Available at: https://www.bmj.com/content/368/bmj.m1165 [Accessed: 18th March 2020]
Day, M, (2020), Covid-19: four fifths of cases are asymptomatic, China figures indicate, The British Medical Journal, [online], Available at: https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m1375?=&utm_source=adestra&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=usage&utm_content=daily&utm_term=text [Accessed: 18th March 2020]
He, X et al. (2020), Temporal dynamics in viral shedding and transmissibility of COVID-19, Nature Medicine, [online], Available at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0869-5 [Accessed: 18th March 2020]
Heneghan, C, Brassey, J, Jefferson, T, (2020), COVID-19: What proportion are asymptomatic?, Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, [online], Available at: https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/covid-19-what-proportion-are-asymptomatic/ [Accessed 18th March 2020]
Kamer, F, (2020), STUDY: YES, HALF OF CORONAVIRUS CARRIERS SHOW NO SYMPTOMS, Furturism, [online], Available at: https://futurism.com/neoscope/half-coronavirus-carriers-no-symptoms [Accessed 18th March 2020]
Mahbubani, R, (2020), Before states rush to lift lockdowns they should consider the dangers that asymptomatic coronavirus carriers could unleash, Business Insider Australia, [online], Available at: https://www.businessinsider.com.au/asymptomatic-coronavirus-carriers-perpetuate-epidemic-states-lift-lockdowns-2020-5?r=US&IR=T [Accessed 18th March 2020]
Mizumoto, K et al. (2020), Estimating the asymptomatic proportion of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, Yokohama, Japan, 2020, Eurosurveillance, [online], Available at: https://www.eurosurveillance.org/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2020.25.10.2000180 [Accessed 18th March 2020]
Moore, D, (2020), Why the number of asymptomatic coronavirus cases matters, Boston Globe, [online], Available at: https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/04/22/metro/why-number-asymptomatic-coronavirus-cases-matters/ [Accessed 18th March 2020]
Mullins, L, (2020), Testing Reveals ‘Stunning’ Asymptomatic Coronavirus Spread Among Boston’s Homeless, WBUR, [online], Available at: https://www.wbur.org/commonhealth/2020/04/14/coronavirus-boston-homeless-testing [Accessed 18th March 2020]
Nishiura, H et al. (2020), Estimation of the asymptomatic ratio of novel coronavirus infections (COVID-19), medRxiv, [online], Available at: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.02.03.20020248v2 [Accessed: 18th March 2020]
Panovska-Griffiths, J, (2020), Coronavirus: BMJ study suggests 78% don’t show symptoms – here’s what that could mean, The Conversation, [online], Available at: https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-bmj-study-suggests-78-dont-show-symptoms-heres-what-that-could-mean-135732 [Accessed: 18th March 2020]
The Associated Press, (2020), How many people have had coronavirus with no symptoms?, NBC News, [online], Available at: https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/how-many-people-have-had-coronavirus-no-symptoms-n1187681 [Accessed: 18th March 2020]
Wong, J et al. (2020), High proportion of asymptomatic and presymptomatic COVID-19 infections in travelers and returning residents to Brunei., National Center for Biotechnology Information, [online], Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32365178 [Accessed: 18th March 2020]