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PLoS One ; 16(11): e0259874, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1518361


The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020 and by November 14, 2020 there were 53.3M confirmed cases and 1.3M reported deaths in the world. In the same period, Ethiopia reported 102K cases and 1.5K deaths. Effective public health preparedness and response to COVID-19 requires timely projections of the time and size of the peak of the outbreak. Currently, Ethiopia under the COVAX facility has begun vaccinating high risk populations but due to vaccine supply shortages and the absence of an effective treatment, the implementation of NPIs (non-pharmaceutical interventions), like hand washing, wearing face coverings or social distancing, still remain the most effective methods of controlling the pandemic as recommended by WHO. This study proposes a modified Susceptible Exposed Infected and Recovered (SEIR) model to predict the number of COVID-19 cases at different stages of the disease under the implementation of NPIs at different adherence levels in both urban and rural settings of Ethiopia. To estimate the number of cases and their peak time, 30 different scenarios were simulated. The results indicated that the peak time of the pandemic is different in urban and rural populations of Ethiopia. In the urban population, under moderate implementation of three NPIs the pandemic will be expected to reach its peak in December, 2020 with 147,972 cases, of which 18,100 are symptomatic and 957 will require admission to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Among the implemented NPIs, increasing the coverage of wearing masks by 10% could reduce the number of new cases on average by one-fifth in urban-populations. Varying the coverage of wearing masks in rural populations minimally reduces the number of cases. In conclusion, the models indicate that the projected number of hospital cases during the peak time is higher than the Ethiopian health system capacity. To contain symptomatic and ICU cases within the health system capacity, the government should pay attention to the strict implementation of the existing NPIs or impose additional public health measures.

COVID-19 , Pandemics , Ethiopia , Masks , Quarantine
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 780, 2021 02 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1087442


Novel pathogenic coronaviruses - such as SARS-CoV and probably SARS-CoV-2 - arise by homologous recombination between co-infecting viruses in a single cell. Identifying possible sources of novel coronaviruses therefore requires identifying hosts of multiple coronaviruses; however, most coronavirus-host interactions remain unknown. Here, by deploying a meta-ensemble of similarity learners from three complementary perspectives (viral, mammalian and network), we predict which mammals are hosts of multiple coronaviruses. We predict that there are 11.5-fold more coronavirus-host associations, over 30-fold more potential SARS-CoV-2 recombination hosts, and over 40-fold more host species with four or more different subgenera of coronaviruses than have been observed to date at >0.5 mean probability cut-off (2.4-, 4.25- and 9-fold, respectively, at >0.9821). Our results demonstrate the large underappreciation of the potential scale of novel coronavirus generation in wild and domesticated animals. We identify high-risk species for coronavirus surveillance.

Coronavirus/physiology , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Mammals/virology , Animals , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Humans , Models, Biological , Phylogeny , Recombination, Genetic/genetics , Reproducibility of Results
One Health ; 12: 100221, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1062535


Approximately a year into the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, many countries have seen additional "waves" of infections, especially in the temperate northern hemisphere. Other vulnerable regions, such as South Africa and several parts of South America have also seen cases rise, further impacting local economies and livelihoods. Despite substantial research efforts to date, it remains unresolved as to whether COVID-19 transmission has the same sensitivity to climate observed for other common respiratory viruses such as seasonal influenza. Here, we look for empirical evidence of seasonality using a robust estimation framework. For 359 large cities across the world, we estimated the basic reproduction number (R0) using logistic growth curves fitted to cumulative case data. We then assess evidence for association with climatic variables through ordinary least squares (OLS) regression. We find evidence of seasonality, with lower R0 within cities experiencing greater surface radiation (coefficient = -0.005, p < 0.001), after adjusting for city-level variation in demographic and disease control factors. Additionally, we find association between R0 and temperature during the early phase of the epidemic in China. However, climatic variables had much weaker explanatory power compared to socioeconomic and disease control factors. Rates of transmission and health burden of the continuing pandemic will be ultimately determined by population factors and disease control policies.