Identifying the Spread of COVID-19 Using Sociology: Lviv IT Cluster Launches a Survey

19 May, 2020

At a Lviv City Council’s briefing yesterday, the launch of a unique in Ukraine experimental survey was announced. The survey is aimed at identifying the spread of coronavirus in Lviv. Lviv City Council, in cooperation with Lviv IT Cluster, and Fama Sociological Agency will implement the initiative within the frames of the Lviv IT Cluster’s initiative United for Health.

The project will combine the sociological sampling method and testing of Lviv residents with express tests. Initially, a sample of respondents who will take part in the study will be formed by the probability sampling method (the entire sample is all city residents). The participants will be tested with express tests for COVID-19 in Lviv health care facilities. The project initiators note that during the first stage, a pilot study will be conducted to verify the methodology of the study participants selection and analyze the response of residents to the project.

photo11“We realize that the issue of identifying the residents’ infection rate is quite sensitive. As participation in such a project is voluntary, the number of refusals can be high. Given this, it can be difficult to scale the project to a larger sample size. To get a sufficient level of the sample representativeness, 400 respondents should take part in the study. In this case, the maximum sampling error will be 5%. After evaluating the results and dynamics of the pilot study, we will decide on the full-scale launch of the project,” says Maryana Malachivska-Danchak, founder of Fama Sociological Agency.

The results of the survey will reveal the spread of coronavirus among the residents of Lviv. Until now, COVID-19 testing (including express testing) was conducted only in high-risk groups, i.e., those who were in contact with a large number of people (public and social workers, public transport drivers, clergy), and those who had symptoms. The survey will identify the infection rate among the residents of the city.

photo2“We need analytical data and comprehensive information on COVID-19 – the most pressing issue now. Our study with the 5% sampling error will reveal the number of infected people in the city. Using the research and official data from the Center for Public Health, we will be able to identify the number of infected people who have not been revealed before and thus adjust the strategy of mass testing of population,” explains Stepan Veselovskyi, CEO at Lviv IT Cluster.

Besides, it should be noted that each participant who tested positive for coronavirus will be checked with a PCR test to confirm the result.

Such a survey is unique for Ukraine and will be conducted for the first time. Similar surveys were carried out in other countries, in particular, Austria and the US (New York, the County of Santa Clara, California). “The results of similar surveys in other countries revealed that the spread of coronavirus was significantly higher than the official statistics showed. It does not mean that the official data is inaccurate. Unfortunately, we do not have enough resources to test all the city residents. Therefore, such an experimental survey will be an additional source of information for us to make decisions about quarantine in Lviv and weakening or strengthening certain restrictions,” says Andriy Moskalenko Deputy Lviv City Mayor for Development Issues at Lviv City Council.

Participation in the survey is free of charge. Express tests for COVID-19 will be provided by Lviv IT Cluster as part of the United for Health initiative.