Coronavirus: evaluating the transparency of the pandemics

Hi everyone,

Our chapter in Brazil has developed a transparency index to evaluate the disclosure of data by local authorities regarding the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. The report shows that 90% of the states, including the federal government, still do not publish data that allow the society to monitor the spread of the Covid pandemic.

Are you aware of other initiatives of this kind taking place in other countries? Do you have any transparency best practices to share?

The assessment took into account three dimensions:

CONTENT - Items such as age, sex and hospitalization status of confirmed patients are considered, in addition to data on health infrastructure, such as availability of ICU beds and tests.

GRANULARITY - Evaluates whether the cases are available individually and anonymously; in addition to the degree of detail about the location (by municipality or neighborhood, for instance).

FORMAT - Publication of analytical panels, spreadsheets in editable format and time series of registered cases are valued.

The first report released last Friday (3rd April) highlighted some worrying results:

→ 24 out of the 27 states, as well as the federal government, did not publish enough data to monitor the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic across the country;

→ Almost 40% of the states still had an “opaque” level of disclosure (0 to 19 points)

→ Only 1 state published on its portal how many tests it had;

→ No state disclosed how many hospital beds (mainly, ICUs) were occupied, as a fraction of the total available beds;

→ 3 states and the federal government still did not publish information by city;

→ More than 80% of the assessed entities did not disclose data in an open format (they usually did it in PDF or as a “story” in press releases).

The report received wide attention from national and local media throughout the country, as well as control agencies, prosecutors and public defenders’ offices. Some states have already announced the improvement of their websites, and this week’s index might have better results in some regions.

We expect to influence the states and the Ministry of Health to open more Covid-19 data in the following weeks. The evaluation will be updated in a weekly basis - next evaluation will be released by Thursday, 9th April.

The complete methodological note is available for download, as well as the evaluation microdata.

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Congratulations for the evaluation, @Fernanda_Campagnucci! :clap::clap::clap:

This will be instrumental in helping the authorities in Brazil to improve the way data about Covid-19 is disclosed.

By the way, I think we should definitely discuss an international standardization effort for Covid-19 data.

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