From the Abstract: "Public health measures and private behaviour are based on reported numbers of SARS-CoV-2 [severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2] infections. Some argue that testing influences the confirmed number of infections. [...] Do time series on reported infections and the number of tests allow one to draw conclusions about actual infection numbers? A SIR [susceptible-infectious-removed] model is presented where the true numbers of susceptible, infectious and removed individuals are unobserved. Testing is also modelled. [...] Official confirmed infection numbers are likely to be biased and cannot be compared over time. The bias occurs because of different reasons for testing (e.g. by symptoms, representative or testing travellers). The paper illustrates the bias and works out the effect of the number of tests on the number of reported cases. The paper also shows that the positive rate (the ratio of positive tests to the total number of tests) is uninformative in the presence of non-representative testing."
IZA DP No. 13785; Institute of Labor Economics Discussion Paper No. 13785
IZA Institute of Labor Economics
IZA Institute of Labor Economics: https://www.iza.org/