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medrxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.10.02.20204578


Objective: To evaluate if the number of admitted extremely preterm (EP) infants (born before 28weeks of gestational age) has changed in the neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) of the SafeBoosC-III consortium during the global lockdown when compared to the corresponding time period in 2019. Design: This is a retrospective, observational study. Forty-six out of 79 NICUs (58%) from 17 countries participated. Principal investigators were asked to report the following information: 1) Total number of EP infant admissions to their NICU in the three months where the lockdown restrictions were most rigorous during the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2) Similar EP infant admissions in the corresponding three months of 2019, 3) the level of local restrictions during the lockdown period and 4) the local impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on the everyday life of a pregnant woman. Results: There was no significant difference between the number of EP infant admissions during the three most rigorous lockdown months of the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the corresponding three months in 2019 (n=428 versus n=457 respectively, p=0.33). There were no significant changes within individual geographic regions and no significant association between the level of lockdown restrictions and change in the number of EP infant admissions (p=0.334). Conclusion: This larger ad hoc study did not confirm previous studies report of a major reduction in the number of extremely preterm births during the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.