Monitoring and Analysis of COVID-19 Pandemic: The Need for an Empirical Approach

Martí Català, Miquel Marchena, David Conesa, Pablo Palacios, Tomas Urdiales, Sergio Alonso, Enrique Alvarez-Lacalle, Daniel Lopez, Pere Joan Cardona, Clara Prats*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The current worldwide pandemic produced by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has changed the paradigm of mathematical epidemiology due to the high number of unknowns of this new disease. Thus, the empirical approach has emerged as a robust tool to analyze the actual situation carried by the countries and also allows us to predict the incoming scenarios. In this paper, we propose three empirical indexes to estimate the state of the pandemic. These indexes quantify both the propagation and the number of estimated cases, allowing us to accurately determine the real risk of a country. We have calculated these indexes' evolution for several European countries. Risk diagrams are introduced as a tool to visualize the evolution of a country and evaluate its current risk as a function of the number of contagious individuals and the empiric reproduction number. Risk diagrams at the regional level are useful to observe heterogeneity on COVID-19 penetration and spreading in some countries, which is essential during deconfinement processes. During the pandemic, there have been significant differences seen in countries reporting case criterion and detection capacity. Therefore, we have introduced estimations about the real number of infectious cases that allows us to have a broader view and to better estimate the risk. These diagrams and indexes have been successfully used for the monitoring of European countries and regions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number633123
Number of pages9
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2021


  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 outbreak
  • epidemic monitoring
  • risk diagram
  • risk indexes


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