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UP experts point out errors in DOH's COVID-19 data, urge correction

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic response team of the University of the Philippines on Tuesday urged authorities to tackle unaddressed data inconsistencies regarding the illness as the country moved forward.

According to the team, there are issues such as the continuing mismatch between the Department of Health (DOH) and LGU numbers, alarming errors in patient-level data, inconsistencies in coding, and inconsistencies in the use of date formats.

"We need to resolve our data issues as soon as possible to secure public trust in the plans, decisions, and pronouncements of the government and its private partners," it said.

DOH previously reported seven deaths and 28 recoveries in Laguna, lesser than the provincial government's reported 29 fatalities and 93 recoveries, according to the report.

Further, a comparison in data drops on April 24 and 25 showed that 45 cases changed sex from male to female or vice-versa while 75 patients became older or younger overnight.

Meanwhile, 516 cases were reclassified to another city or "a completely imaginary city."

The UP COVID-19 team also reported that a patient who reportedly died on April 24 was no longer dead on April 25.

The team also called on the government to share data with all relevant stakeholders.

"Any scientific output would benefit from cross-validation from peers, and such scientific rigor can only happen in an environment where data, especially government data, is made available to all relevant stakeholders," it said.

"Entrusting government data to select private entities only is inimical to the public interest," it added.

Through this, both official and unofficial stakholders can be empowered, according to the team.

"Keeping information in silos limits our understanding of the problem, thus limiting our chances to maintain and preserve public health and security," the team said. -NB, GMA News