Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Time for testing: Ibope goes to the field to map coronavirus advance

Accustomed to doing opinion polls, voting intention and market, Ibope starts on Wednesday (13) a different endeacity: a field research that aims to show how the new coronavirus is advancing in Brazil. A total of 2,600 researchers will interview and apply rapid covid-19 tests on just over 33,000 residents of 133 cities across the country. In two weeks, the researchers will return to the field to conduct another 33,000 tests and, two weeks later, another 33,000. By the end of the three rounds, they will have applied about 100,000 tests. The project is an initiative of the Ministry of Health, which hired Ibope to carry out field research. The company is expected to receive almost 10 million reais for the work. The interviewer must wear protective equipment, such as glasses, masks and gloves, and will visit people in their homes. It will collect a drop of blood from one of the residents of each household and put the material in a device that will do the analysis. If it is positive, the interviewer should test all the residents of this house. With rapid tests, it will be possible to know the percentage of people who have antibodies against the new coronavirus, that is, who have already come into contact with the disease. Rapid tests, however, have one limitation: they only detect the disease if the person has been infected for at least 7 days. That is, many people who take the test may have a negative result, but be infected and still not know it. Each test round will present the portrait of a moment. The Plan of the Ministry of Health is that the comparison of the results of the different rounds shows the speed with which the virus is spreading throughout the country. This type of information may be useful, for example, to guide a decision on measures to relax social distancing in a given region. For this work, Ibope will have the support of the Federal University of Pelotas, which coordinated a similar research in Rio Grande do Sul. On April 15, the institution released the results of the tests applied to 4,189 people in nine cities in Rio Grande do Sul. Two of them tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, which represented 0.05% of the sample. Extrapolating this index to the population as a whole, the researchers deduced that there were 5,650 people infected in the state, 7.5 times more than the number officially confirmed at that time.
Exame - 13/05/2020 News Item translated automatically
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