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Sci Rep ; 12(1): 16522, 2022 10 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2050530


Human travel fed the worldwide spread of COVID-19, but it remains unclear whether the volume of incoming air passengers and the centrality of airports in the global airline network made some regions more vulnerable to earlier and higher mortality. We assess whether the precocity and severity of COVID-19 deaths were contingent on these measures of air travel intensity, adjusting for differences in local non-pharmaceutical interventions and pre-pandemic structural characteristics of 502 sub-national areas on five continents in April-October 2020. Ordinary least squares (OLS) models of precocity (i.e., the timing of the 1st and 10th death outbreaks) reveal that neither airport centrality nor the volume of incoming passengers are impactful once we consider pre-pandemic demographic characteristics of the areas. We assess severity (i.e., the weekly death incidence of COVID-19) through the estimation of a generalized linear mixed model, employing a negative binomial link function. Results suggest that COVID-19 death incidence was insensitive to airport centrality, with no substantial changes over time. Higher air passenger volume tends to coincide with more COVID-19 deaths, but this relation weakened as the pandemic proceeded. Different models prove that either the lack of airports in a region or total travel bans did reduce mortality significantly. We conclude that COVID-19 importation through air travel followed a 'travel as spark' principle, whereby the absence of air travel reduced epidemic risk drastically. However, once some travel occurred, its impact on the severity of the pandemic was only in part associated with the number of incoming passengers, and not at all with the position of airports in the global network of airline connections.

Air Travel , COVID-19 , Airports , COVID-19/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , Humans , Pandemics , Travel
Eur J Intern Med ; 86: 41-47, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1084315


BACKGROUND: The influence of aging and multimorbidity on Covid-19 clinical presentation is still unclear. OBJECTIVES: We investigated whether the association between symptoms (or cluster of symptoms) and positive SARS-CoV-2 nasopharyngeal swab (NPS) was different according to patients' age and presence of multimorbidity. METHODS: The study included 6680 participants in the EPICOVID19 web-based survey, who reported information about symptoms from February to June 2020 and who underwent at least one NPS. Symptom clusters were identified through hierarchical cluster analysis. The associations between symptoms (and clusters of symptoms) and positive NPS were investigated through multivariable binary logistic regression in the sample stratified by age (<65 vs ≥65 years) and number of chronic diseases (0 vs 1 vs ≥2). RESULTS: The direct association between taste/smell disorders and positive NPS was weaker in older and multimorbid patients than in their younger and healthier counterparts. Having reported no symptoms reduced the chance of positive NPS by 86% in younger (95%CI: 0.11-0.18), and by 46% in older participants (95%CI: 0.37-0.79). Of the four symptom clusters identified (asymptomatic, generic, flu-like, and combined generic and flu-like symptoms), those associated with a higher probability of SARS-CoV-2 infection were the flu-like for older people, and the combined generic and flu-like for the younger ones. CONCLUSIONS: Older age and pre-existing chronic diseases may influence the clinical presentation of Covid-19. Symptoms at disease onset tend to aggregate differently by age. New diagnostic algorithms considering age and chronic conditions may ease Covid-19 diagnosis and optimize health resources allocation. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT04471701 (

COVID-19 , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19 Testing , Humans , Internet , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires