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Lessons from COVID-19 for rescalable data collection.

Lancet Infect Dis

Bhatia S, Imai N, Watson OJ, Abbood A, Abdelmalik P, Cornelissen T, Ghozzi S, Lassmann B, Nagesh R, Ragonnet-Cronin ML, Schnitzler JC, Kraemer MU, Cauchemez S, Nouvellet P, Cori A.

Novel data and analyses have had an important role in informing the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Existing surveillance systems were scaled up, and in some instances new systems were developed to meet the challenges posed by the magnitude of the pandemic. We describe the routine and novel data that were used to address urgent public health questions during the pandemic, underscore the challenges in sustainability and equity in data generation, and highlight key lessons learnt for designing scalable data collection systems to support decision making during a public health crisis. As countries emerge from the acute phase of the pandemic, COVID-19 surveillance systems are being scaled down. However, SARS-CoV-2 resurgence remains a threat to global health security; therefore, a minimal cost-effective system needs to remain active that can be rapidly scaled up if necessary. We propose that a retrospective evaluation to identify the cost-benefit profile of the various data streams collected during the pandemic should be on the scientific research agenda.

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