During times of massive socio-economic change, it should be possible to quickly launch an emergency survey among a random sample of the population, with a panel that is followed over an extended period of time. In the current crisis, this sample should also be used to collect information on the incidence and distribution of COVID-19, to complement biased information from testing only very specific subpopulations. Such an emergency survey should allow to make much better informed policy decisions, including on targeted health interventions, uncovered needs in the population, and cushioning negative effects of current health measures, as well as on when to lift restrictions on fundamental freedoms, and how to jumpstart economic activity, once the health situation is back under control.
Goedemé, T. (2020). 'We need an ‘emergency survey’ based on random samples. Urgently.'. INET Oxford COVID-19 Blog, 1 April 2020.