GÖTTINGEN (dpa-AFX) – More than a dozen scientific societies are calling for better data management in the corona pandemic. “Statistics and statistical models make a significant contribution to political decision-making in pandemics,” says a position paper by the German Statistics Working Group (DAGStat). For this you need “a national strategy and systematic collection of data”. Both of these have not yet existed.
Representatives from ten universities and the Federal Statistical Office collaborated on the paper. “Only with scientific evaluations that are independent and based on a very broad basis can the necessary decision-making aids be made available to politicians in the shortest possible time,” says DAGStat chairman Tim Friede (University of Göttingen).
To justify policy action, “the quality of the data is critical,” the paper says. Without them, “the boundaries between informing and convincing could not always be clearly drawn”: For one scientist, the numbers on new infections, excess mortality and the occupancy of intensive care beds justified the anti-corona measures. “Others have interpreted the same data in such a way that, from their point of view, less strict measures are necessary.”
There are deficits, for example, in comparability: According to statisticians, the number of infections depends “heavily on the availability of tests, the quality of the tests and the test strategy”. It would be better to “carry out regular tests in well-defined random samples in order to be able to depict the infection process more correctly”.
Another problem is data protection. In order to understand which groups are exposed to a higher risk, one has to collect individual characteristics. But that often fails because of the high data protection requirements. “For the future, however, one would like better and easier access possibilities in the sense of a faster and more reliable acquisition of knowledge”, it says in the statement./sat/DP/zb