About the evidence

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The SIGN/University of Glasgow identified a published systematic review and meta-analysis which included 43 studies and 3,600 patients mostly from China.3 This section includes the details of the prevalence of symptoms found in this study. A review, which includes data from the United Kingdom, found little evidence to differentiate between mild and moderate symptoms and those in a severe condition.1  

The initial rapid review identified a mixture of published studies and preprints or preliminary reports that included data on signs and symptoms from mixed healthcare settings, primarily in the United States (US) and Italy. Most studies are retrospective, observational studies so are potentially biased and may not be easily generalisable to Scottish primary care practice. Preprint studies have not been subject to peer review. The update is primarily based on published studies and some of the preprint papers from the initial review that have since been published. However, some of the evidence used is from preprint sources.

For these reasons, all evidence reported should be considered low quality and needs to be interpreted with caution.  

For the prevalence and severity data reported in this section, it is not always clear how the authors define severe disease. For the purposes of this review we considered that disease was severe when a patient was admitted to ICU. In the data provided, ‘all cases’ means all diagnosed cases and may include mild, moderate and severe disease. The severity of disease as a percentage of the diagnosed cases would be likely to vary depending on the testing policy in place in that setting at the time the data was collected. This may also result in a higher percentage of confirmed cases in subgroups believed to be at risk as they are more likely to have been tested.