Underdispersion in the reported Covid-19 case and death numbers may suggest data manipulations

Link: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.02.11.22270841v1

doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.02.11.22270841



We suggest a statistical test for underdispersion in the reported Covid-19 case and death numbers, compared to the variance expected under the Poisson distribution. Screening all countries in the World Health Organization (WHO) dataset for evidence of underdispersion yields 21 country with statistically significant underdispersion. Most of the countries in this list are known, based on the excess mortality data, to strongly undercount Covid deaths. We argue that Poisson underdispersion provides a simple and useful test to detect reporting anomalies and highlight unreliable data.

Author(s): Dmitry Kobak

Publication Date: 13 Feb 2022

Publication Site: medRXiV