Underestimation of COVID-19 cases in Japan: an analysis of RT-PCR testing for COVID-19 among 47 prefectures in Japan
AffiliationFukushima Medical University, Japan
University of Derby
Tohoku University, Japan
Medical Governance Research Institute, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
National Public Health Laboratory, Kathmandu, Nepal
Fudan University, Shanghai, China
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AbstractUnder the unique Japanese policy to restrict reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, a nationwide number of its confirmed cases and mortality remains to be low. Yet the information is lacking on geographical differences of these measures and their associated factors. Evaluation of prefecture-based geographical differences and associated predictors for the incidence and number of RT-PCR tests for COVID-19. Cross-sectional study using regression and correlation analysis. We retrieved domestic laboratory-confirmed cases, deaths, and the number of RT-PCR testing for COVID-19 from January 15 to April 6, 2020 in 47 prefectures in Japan, using publicly-available data by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. We did descriptive analyses of these three measures and identified significant predictors for the incidence and RT-PCR testing through multiple regression analyses and correlates with the number of deaths through correlation analysis. The median prefectural-level incidence and number of RT-PCR testing per 100,000 population were 1.14 and 38.6, respectively. Multiple regression analyses revealed that significant predictors for the incidence were prefectural-level population (p < 0.001) and the number of RT-PCR testing (p = 0.03); and those for RT-PCR testing were the incidence (p = 0.025), available beds (p = 0.045) and cluster infections (p = 0.034). Considering bidirectional association between the incidence and RT-PCR testing, there may have been an underdiagnosed population for the infection. The restraint policy for RT-PCR testing should be revisited to meet the increasing demand under the COVID-19 epidemic.
CitationSawano, T., Kotera, Y., Ozaki, A., Murayama, A., Tanimoto, Y., Sah, R. and Wang, J. (2020). 'Underestimation of COVID-19 cases in Japan: An analysis of RT- 4 PCR testing for COVID-19 among 47 prefectures in Japan'. QJM: An International Journal of Medicine, pp, 1-26.
PublisherOxford University Press
JournalQJM: An International Journal of Medicine