Integration of publicly available case-based data for real-time coronavirus disease 2019 risk assessment, Japan
Publicly available patient data for real-time coronavirus disease 2019
In response to the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Japan, a national COVID-19 cluster taskforce (comprising governmental and nongovernmental experts) was established to support the country’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in conducting daily risk assessment. The assessment was carried out using established infectious disease surveillance systems; however, in the initial stages of the pandemic these were not sufficient for real-time risk assessment owing to limited accessibility, delay in data entry and inadequate case information. Also, local governments were publishing anonymized data on confirmed COVID-19 cases on their official websites as daily press releases. We developed a unique database for nationwide real-time risk assessment that included these case lists from local government websites and integrated all case data into a standardized format. The database was updated daily and checked systematically to ensure comprehensiveness and quality. Between 15 January 2020 and 15 June 2021, 776 459 cases were logged in the database, allowing for analysis of real-time risk from the pandemic. This semi-automated database was used in daily risk assessments, and to evaluate and update control measures to prevent community transmission of COVID-19 in Japan. The data were reported almost every week to the Japanese Government Advisory Panel on COVID-19 for public health responses.