Interpreting SARS-CoV-2 fatality rate estimates: A case for introducing standardized reporting to improve communication

Abstract

The SARS-CoV-2 virus has spread across the world, testing each country’s ability to understand the state of the pandemic in their country and control it. As we look to the data to put into perspective the potential harm the COVID-19 can cause, we discover that critical details that provide context to the data are missing. There are many reasons to establish a set of standard-based guidelines to record and report the data from epidemiological studies. This perspective explores a handful of these reasons, including standardizing nomenclature to improve communication, rigor and reproducibility, and making it easier for the general public, health officials, and policymakers to interpret epidemiological quantitative data as it pertains to COVID-19. The suggestions are not intended to be formulaic; they should be viewed as a starting point for guidelines that experts in the field can establish and encourage throughout the appropriate communities.