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1.
PLoS Comput Biol ; 19(6): e1011191, 2023 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20234575

ABSTRACT

Since the emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), large-scale social contact surveys are now longitudinally measuring the fundamental changes in human interactions in the face of the pandemic and non-pharmaceutical interventions. Here, we present a model-based Bayesian approach that can reconstruct contact patterns at 1-year resolution even when the age of the contacts is reported coarsely by 5 or 10-year age bands. This innovation is rooted in population-level consistency constraints in how contacts between groups must add up, which prompts us to call the approach presented here the Bayesian rate consistency model. The model can also quantify time trends and adjust for reporting fatigue emerging in longitudinal surveys through the use of computationally efficient Hilbert Space Gaussian process priors. We illustrate estimation accuracy on simulated data as well as social contact data from Europe and Africa for which the exact age of contacts is reported, and then apply the model to social contact data with coarse information on the age of contacts that were collected in Germany during the COVID-19 pandemic from April to June 2020 across five longitudinal survey waves. We estimate the fine age structure in social contacts during the early stages of the pandemic and demonstrate that social contact intensities rebounded in an age-structured, non-homogeneous manner. The Bayesian rate consistency model provides a model-based, non-parametric, computationally tractable approach for estimating the fine structure and longitudinal trends in social contacts and is applicable to contemporary survey data with coarsely reported age of contacts as long as the exact age of survey participants is reported.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , Bayes Theorem , SARS-CoV-2 , Pandemics , Surveys and Questionnaires
2.
Lancet Glob Health ; 11(5): e759-e769, 2023 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2298516

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Several vaccine candidates are in development against MERS-CoV, which remains a major public health concern. In anticipation of available MERS-CoV vaccines, we examine strategies for their optimal deployment among health-care workers. METHODS: Using data from the 2013-14 Saudi Arabia epidemic, we use a counterfactual analysis on inferred transmission trees (who-infected-whom analysis) to assess the potential impact of vaccination campaigns targeting health-care workers, as quantified by the proportion of cases or deaths averted. We investigate the conditions under which proactive campaigns (ie vaccinating in anticipation of the next outbreak) would outperform reactive campaigns (ie vaccinating in response to an unfolding outbreak), considering vaccine efficacy, duration of vaccine protection, effectiveness of animal reservoir control measures, wait (time between vaccination and next outbreak, for proactive campaigns), reaction time (for reactive campaigns), and spatial level (hospital, regional, or national, for reactive campaigns). We also examine the relative efficiency (cases averted per thousand doses) of different strategies. FINDINGS: The spatial scale of reactive campaigns is crucial. Proactive campaigns outperform campaigns that vaccinate health-care workers in response to outbreaks at their hospital, unless vaccine efficacy has waned significantly. However, reactive campaigns at the regional or national levels consistently outperform proactive campaigns, regardless of vaccine efficacy. When considering the number of cases averted per vaccine dose administered, the rank order is reversed: hospital-level reactive campaigns are most efficient, followed by regional-level reactive campaigns, with national-level and proactive campaigns being least efficient. If the number of cases required to trigger reactive vaccination increases, the performance of hospital-level campaigns is greatly reduced; the impact of regional-level campaigns is variable, but that of national-level campaigns is preserved unless triggers have high thresholds. INTERPRETATION: Substantial reduction of MERS-CoV morbidity and mortality is possible when vaccinating only health-care workers, underlining the need for countries at risk of outbreaks to stockpile vaccines when available. FUNDING: UK Medical Research Council, UK National Institute for Health Research, UK Research and Innovation, UK Academy of Medical Sciences, The Novo Nordisk Foundation, The Schmidt Foundation, and Investissement d'Avenir France.


Subject(s)
Epidemics , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus , Humans , Vaccination , Health Personnel , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Epidemics/prevention & control
3.
Lancet Public Health ; 8(4): e311-e317, 2023 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2269236

ABSTRACT

Effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), such as school closures and stay-at-home orders, during the COVID-19 pandemic has been assessed in many studies. Such assessments can inform public health policies and contribute to evidence-based choices of NPIs during subsequent waves or future epidemics. However, methodological issues and no standardised assessment practices have restricted the practical value of the existing evidence. Here, we present and discuss lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and make recommendations for standardising and improving assessment, data collection, and modelling. These recommendations could contribute to reliable and policy-relevant assessments of the effectiveness of NPIs during future epidemics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Data Collection , Public Policy , Schools
4.
Lancet ; 401(10375): 432-433, 2023 02 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2227831

Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , Mortality
5.
JAMA Netw Open ; 6(1): e2253590, 2023 01 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2219605

ABSTRACT

Importance: COVID-19 was the underlying cause of death for more than 940 000 individuals in the US, including at least 1289 children and young people (CYP) aged 0 to 19 years, with at least 821 CYP deaths occurring in the 1-year period from August 1, 2021, to July 31, 2022. Because deaths among US CYP are rare, the mortality burden of COVID-19 in CYP is best understood in the context of all other causes of CYP death. Objective: To determine whether COVID-19 is a leading (top 10) cause of death in CYP in the US. Design, Setting, and Participants: This national population-level cross-sectional epidemiological analysis for the years 2019 to 2022 used data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wide-Ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research (WONDER) database on underlying cause of death in the US to identify the ranking of COVID-19 relative to other causes of death among individuals aged 0 to 19 years. COVID-19 deaths were considered in 12-month periods between April 1, 2020, and August 31, 2022, compared with deaths from leading non-COVID-19 causes in 2019, 2020, and 2021. Main Outcomes and Measures: Cause of death rankings by total number of deaths, crude rates per 100 000 population, and percentage of all causes of death, using the National Center for Health Statistics 113 Selected Causes of Death, for ages 0 to 19 and by age groupings (<1 year, 1-4 years, 5-9 years, 10-14 years, 15-19 years). Results: There were 821 COVID-19 deaths among individuals aged 0 to 19 years during the study period, resulting in a crude death rate of 1.0 per 100 000 population overall; 4.3 per 100 000 for those younger than 1 year; 0.6 per 100 000 for those aged 1 to 4 years; 0.4 per 100 000 for those aged 5 to 9 years; 0.5 per 100 000 for those aged 10 to 14 years; and 1.8 per 100 000 for those aged 15 to 19 years. COVID-19 mortality in the time period of August 1, 2021, to July 31, 2022, was among the 10 leading causes of death in CYP aged 0 to 19 years in the US, ranking eighth among all causes of deaths, fifth in disease-related causes of deaths (excluding unintentional injuries, assault, and suicide), and first in deaths caused by infectious or respiratory diseases when compared with 2019. COVID-19 deaths constituted 2% of all causes of death in this age group. Conclusions and Relevance: The findings of this study suggest that COVID-19 was a leading cause of death in CYP. It caused substantially more deaths in CYP annually than any vaccine-preventable disease historically in the recent period before vaccines became available. Various factors, including underreporting and not accounting for COVID-19's role as a contributing cause of death from other diseases, mean that these estimates may understate the true mortality burden of COVID-19. The findings of this study underscore the public health relevance of COVID-19 to CYP. In the likely future context of sustained SARS-CoV-2 circulation, appropriate pharmaceutical and nonpharmaceutical interventions (eg, vaccines, ventilation, air cleaning) will continue to play an important role in limiting transmission of the virus and mitigating severe disease in CYP.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Communicable Diseases , Child , Humans , Adolescent , Cause of Death , Cross-Sectional Studies , SARS-CoV-2
6.
PLoS Comput Biol ; 19(1): e1010799, 2023 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2214711

ABSTRACT

Simulating the spread of infectious diseases in human communities is critical for predicting the trajectory of an epidemic and verifying various policies to control the devastating impacts of the outbreak. Many existing simulators are based on compartment models that divide people into a few subsets and simulate the dynamics among those subsets using hypothesized differential equations. However, these models lack the requisite granularity to study the effect of intelligent policies that influence every individual in a particular way. In this work, we introduce a simulator software capable of modeling a population structure and controlling the disease's propagation at an individualistic level. In order to estimate the confidence of the conclusions drawn from the simulator, we employ a comprehensive probabilistic approach where the entire population is constructed as a hierarchical random variable. This approach makes the inferred conclusions more robust against sampling artifacts and gives confidence bounds for decisions based on the simulation results. To showcase potential applications, the simulator parameters are set based on the formal statistics of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the outcome of a wide range of control measures is investigated. Furthermore, the simulator is used as the environment of a reinforcement learning problem to find the optimal policies to control the pandemic. The obtained experimental results indicate the simulator's adaptability and capacity in making sound predictions and a successful policy derivation example based on real-world data. As an exemplary application, our results show that the proposed policy discovery method can lead to control measures that produce significantly fewer infected individuals in the population and protect the health system against saturation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Communicable Diseases , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Computer Simulation , Communicable Diseases/epidemiology , Policy
7.
Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society) ; 185(S1), 2022.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-2193233

ABSTRACT

We propose a new framework to model the COVID-19 epidemic of the United Kingdom at the local authority level. The model fits within a general framework for semi-mechanistic Bayesian models of the epidemic based on renewal equations, with some important innovations, including a random walk modelling the reproduction number, incorporating information from different sources, including surveys to estimate the time-varying proportion of infections that lead to reported cases or deaths, and modelling the underlying infections as latent random variables. The model is designed to be updated daily using publicly available data. We envisage the model to be useful for now-casting and short-term projections of the epidemic as well as estimating historical trends. The model fits are available on a public website: . The model is currently being used by the Scottish government to inform their interventions.

8.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 7003, 2022 Nov 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2116500

ABSTRACT

Genomic sequencing is essential to track the evolution and spread of SARS-CoV-2, optimize molecular tests, treatments, vaccines, and guide public health responses. To investigate the global SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance, we used sequences shared via GISAID to estimate the impact of sequencing intensity and turnaround times on variant detection in 189 countries. In the first two years of the pandemic, 78% of high-income countries sequenced >0.5% of their COVID-19 cases, while 42% of low- and middle-income countries reached that mark. Around 25% of the genomes from high income countries were submitted within 21 days, a pattern observed in 5% of the genomes from low- and middle-income countries. We found that sequencing around 0.5% of the cases, with a turnaround time <21 days, could provide a benchmark for SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance. Socioeconomic inequalities undermine the global pandemic preparedness, and efforts must be made to support low- and middle-income countries improve their local sequencing capacity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Genome, Viral/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Pandemics , Genomics
9.
Nature ; 599(7883): 114-119, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2114880

ABSTRACT

The B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was first identified in the state of Maharashtra in late 2020 and spread throughout India, outcompeting pre-existing lineages including B.1.617.1 (Kappa) and B.1.1.7 (Alpha)1. In vitro, B.1.617.2 is sixfold less sensitive to serum neutralizing antibodies from recovered individuals, and eightfold less sensitive to vaccine-elicited antibodies, compared with wild-type Wuhan-1 bearing D614G. Serum neutralizing titres against B.1.617.2 were lower in ChAdOx1 vaccinees than in BNT162b2 vaccinees. B.1.617.2 spike pseudotyped viruses exhibited compromised sensitivity to monoclonal antibodies to the receptor-binding domain and the amino-terminal domain. B.1.617.2 demonstrated higher replication efficiency than B.1.1.7 in both airway organoid and human airway epithelial systems, associated with B.1.617.2 spike being in a predominantly cleaved state compared with B.1.1.7 spike. The B.1.617.2 spike protein was able to mediate highly efficient syncytium formation that was less sensitive to inhibition by neutralizing antibody, compared with that of wild-type spike. We also observed that B.1.617.2 had higher replication and spike-mediated entry than B.1.617.1, potentially explaining the B.1.617.2 dominance. In an analysis of more than 130 SARS-CoV-2-infected health care workers across three centres in India during a period of mixed lineage circulation, we observed reduced ChAdOx1 vaccine effectiveness against B.1.617.2 relative to non-B.1.617.2, with the caveat of possible residual confounding. Compromised vaccine efficacy against the highly fit and immune-evasive B.1.617.2 Delta variant warrants continued infection control measures in the post-vaccination era.


Subject(s)
Immune Evasion , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Virus Replication/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Cell Fusion , Cell Line , Female , Health Personnel , Humans , India , Kinetics , Male , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vaccination
10.
JMIR infodemiology ; 2(2), 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-2101748

ABSTRACT

Background Achieving herd immunity through vaccination depends upon the public’s acceptance, which in turn relies on their understanding of its risks and benefits. The fundamental objective of public health messaging on vaccines is therefore the clear communication of often complex information and, increasingly, the countering of misinformation. The primary outlet shaping public understanding is mainstream online news media, where coverage of COVID-19 vaccines was widespread. Objective We used text-mining analysis on the front pages of mainstream online news to quantify the volume and sentiment polarization of vaccine coverage. Methods We analyzed 28 million articles from 172 major news sources across 11 countries between July 2015 and April 2021. We employed keyword-based frequency analysis to estimate the proportion of overall articles devoted to vaccines. We performed topic detection using BERTopic and named entity recognition to identify the leading subjects and actors mentioned in the context of vaccines. We used the Vader Python module to perform sentiment polarization quantification of all collated English-language articles. Results The proportion of front-page articles mentioning vaccines increased from 0.1% to 4% with the outbreak of COVID-19. The number of negatively polarized articles increased from 6698 in 2015-2019 to 28,552 in 2020-2021. However, overall vaccine coverage before the COVID-19 pandemic was slightly negatively polarized (57% negative), whereas coverage during the pandemic was positively polarized (38% negative). Conclusions Throughout the pandemic, vaccines have risen from a marginal to a widely discussed topic on the front pages of major news outlets. Mainstream online media has been positively polarized toward vaccines, compared with mainly negative prepandemic vaccine news. However, the pandemic was accompanied by an order-of-magnitude increase in vaccine news that, due to low prepandemic frequency, may contribute to a perceived negative sentiment. These results highlight important interactions between the volume of news and overall polarization. To the best of our knowledge, our work is the first systematic text mining study of front-page vaccine news headlines in the context of COVID-19.

11.
JMIR Infodemiology ; 2(2): e35121, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2098984

ABSTRACT

Background: Achieving herd immunity through vaccination depends upon the public's acceptance, which in turn relies on their understanding of its risks and benefits. The fundamental objective of public health messaging on vaccines is therefore the clear communication of often complex information and, increasingly, the countering of misinformation. The primary outlet shaping public understanding is mainstream online news media, where coverage of COVID-19 vaccines was widespread. Objective: We used text-mining analysis on the front pages of mainstream online news to quantify the volume and sentiment polarization of vaccine coverage. Methods: We analyzed 28 million articles from 172 major news sources across 11 countries between July 2015 and April 2021. We employed keyword-based frequency analysis to estimate the proportion of overall articles devoted to vaccines. We performed topic detection using BERTopic and named entity recognition to identify the leading subjects and actors mentioned in the context of vaccines. We used the Vader Python module to perform sentiment polarization quantification of all collated English-language articles. Results: The proportion of front-page articles mentioning vaccines increased from 0.1% to 4% with the outbreak of COVID-19. The number of negatively polarized articles increased from 6698 in 2015-2019 to 28,552 in 2020-2021. However, overall vaccine coverage before the COVID-19 pandemic was slightly negatively polarized (57% negative), whereas coverage during the pandemic was positively polarized (38% negative). Conclusions: Throughout the pandemic, vaccines have risen from a marginal to a widely discussed topic on the front pages of major news outlets. Mainstream online media has been positively polarized toward vaccines, compared with mainly negative prepandemic vaccine news. However, the pandemic was accompanied by an order-of-magnitude increase in vaccine news that, due to low prepandemic frequency, may contribute to a perceived negative sentiment. These results highlight important interactions between the volume of news and overall polarization. To the best of our knowledge, our work is the first systematic text mining study of front-page vaccine news headlines in the context of COVID-19.

12.
PLoS Comput Biol ; 18(8): e1010435, 2022 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2021467

ABSTRACT

Although seasonal variation has a known influence on the transmission of several respiratory viral infections, its role in SARS-CoV-2 transmission remains unclear. While there is a sizable and growing literature on environmental drivers of COVID-19 transmission, recent reviews have highlighted conflicting and inconclusive findings. This indeterminacy partly owes to the fact that seasonal variation relates to viral transmission by a complicated web of causal pathways, including many interacting biological and behavioural factors. Since analyses of specific factors cannot determine the aggregate strength of seasonal forcing, we sidestep the challenge of disentangling various possible causal paths in favor of a holistic approach. We model seasonality as a sinusoidal variation in transmission and infer a single Bayesian estimate of the overall seasonal effect. By extending two state-of-the-art models of non-pharmaceutical intervention (NPI) effects and their datasets covering 143 regions in temperate Europe, we are able to adjust our estimates for the role of both NPIs and mobility patterns in reducing transmission. We find strong seasonal patterns, consistent with a reduction in the time-varying reproduction number R(t) (the expected number of new infections generated by an infectious individual at time t) of 42.1% (95% CI: 24.7%-53.4%) from the peak of winter to the peak of summer. These results imply that the seasonality of SARS-CoV-2 transmission is comparable in magnitude to the most effective individual NPIs but less than the combined effect of multiple interventions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Bayes Theorem , COVID-19/epidemiology , Climate , Humans , Seasons
14.
Nature ; 610(7930): 154-160, 2022 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1991629

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 Delta (Pango lineage B.1.617.2) variant of concern spread globally, causing resurgences of COVID-19 worldwide1,2. The emergence of the Delta variant in the UK occurred on the background of a heterogeneous landscape of immunity and relaxation of non-pharmaceutical interventions. Here we analyse 52,992 SARS-CoV-2 genomes from England together with 93,649 genomes from the rest of the world to reconstruct the emergence of Delta and quantify its introduction to and regional dissemination across England in the context of changing travel and social restrictions. Using analysis of human movement, contact tracing and virus genomic data, we find that the geographic focus of the expansion of Delta shifted from India to a more global pattern in early May 2021. In England, Delta lineages were introduced more than 1,000 times and spread nationally as non-pharmaceutical interventions were relaxed. We find that hotel quarantine for travellers reduced onward transmission from importations; however, the transmission chains that later dominated the Delta wave in England were seeded before travel restrictions were introduced. Increasing inter-regional travel within England drove the nationwide dissemination of Delta, with some cities receiving more than 2,000 observable lineage introductions from elsewhere. Subsequently, increased levels of local population mixing-and not the number of importations-were associated with the faster relative spread of Delta. The invasion dynamics of Delta depended on spatial heterogeneity in contact patterns, and our findings will inform optimal spatial interventions to reduce the transmission of current and future variants of concern, such as Omicron (Pango lineage B.1.1.529).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Cities/epidemiology , Contact Tracing , England/epidemiology , Genome, Viral/genetics , Humans , Quarantine/legislation & jurisprudence , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Travel/legislation & jurisprudence
15.
Commun Med (Lond) ; 2: 54, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1947549

ABSTRACT

Background: The infection fatality ratio (IFR) is a key statistic for estimating the burden of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and has been continuously debated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The age-specific IFR can be quantified using antibody surveys to estimate total infections, but requires consideration of delay-distributions from time from infection to seroconversion, time to death, and time to seroreversion (i.e. antibody waning) alongside serologic test sensitivity and specificity. Previous IFR estimates have not fully propagated uncertainty or accounted for these potential biases, particularly seroreversion. Methods: We built a Bayesian statistical model that incorporates these factors and applied this model to simulated data and 10 serologic studies from different countries. Results: We demonstrate that seroreversion becomes a crucial factor as time accrues but is less important during first-wave, short-term dynamics. We additionally show that disaggregating surveys by regions with higher versus lower disease burden can inform serologic test specificity estimates. The overall IFR in each setting was estimated at 0.49-2.53%. Conclusion: We developed a robust statistical framework to account for full uncertainties in the parameters determining IFR. We provide code for others to apply these methods to further datasets and future epidemics.

17.
Lancet Child Adolesc Health ; 6(4): 249-259, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1927002

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In the 6 months following our estimates from March 1, 2020, to April 30, 2021, the proliferation of new coronavirus variants, updated mortality data, and disparities in vaccine access increased the amount of children experiencing COVID-19-associated orphanhood. To inform responses, we aimed to model the increases in numbers of children affected by COVID-19-associated orphanhood and caregiver death, as well as the cumulative orphanhood age-group distribution and circumstance (maternal or paternal orphanhood). METHODS: We used updated excess mortality and fertility data to model increases in minimum estimates of COVID-19-associated orphanhood and caregiver deaths from our original study period of March 1, 2020-April 30, 2021, to include the new period of May 1-Oct 31, 2021, for 21 countries. Orphanhood was defined as the death of one or both parents; primary caregiver loss included parental death or the death of one or both custodial grandparents; and secondary caregiver loss included co-residing grandparents or kin. We used logistic regression and further incorporated a fixed effect for western European countries into our previous model to avoid over-predicting caregiver loss in that region. For the entire 20-month period, we grouped children by age (0-4 years, 5-9 years, and 10-17 years) and maternal or paternal orphanhood, using fertility contributions, and we modelled global and regional extrapolations of numbers of orphans. 95% credible intervals (CrIs) are given for all estimates. FINDINGS: The number of children affected by COVID-19-associated orphanhood and caregiver death is estimated to have increased by 90·0% (95% CrI 89·7-90·4) from April 30 to Oct 31, 2021, from 2 737 300 (95% CrI 1 976 100-2 987 000) to 5 200 300 (3 619 400-5 731 400). Between March 1, 2020, and Oct 31, 2021, 491 300 (95% CrI 485 100-497 900) children aged 0-4 years, 736 800 (726 900-746 500) children aged 5-9 years, and 2 146 700 (2 120 900-2 174 200) children aged 10-17 years are estimated to have experienced COVID-19-associated orphanhood. Globally, 76·5% (95% CrI 76·3-76·7) of children were paternal orphans, whereas 23·5% (23·3-23·7) were maternal orphans. In each age group and region, the prevalence of paternal orphanhood exceeded that of maternal orphanhood. INTERPRETATION: Our findings show that numbers of children affected by COVID-19-associated orphanhood and caregiver death almost doubled in 6 months compared with the amount after the first 14 months of the pandemic. Over the entire 20-month period, 5·0 million COVID-19 deaths meant that 5·2 million children lost a parent or caregiver. Our data on children's ages and circumstances should support pandemic response planning for children globally. FUNDING: UK Research and Innovation (Global Challenges Research Fund, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and Medical Research Council), Oak Foundation, UK National Institute for Health Research, US National Institutes of Health, and Imperial College London.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , Caregivers/supply & distribution , Child, Orphaned/statistics & numerical data , Adolescent , Adult , Child , Female , Humans , Male , Models, Statistical
18.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 119(23): e2119266119, 2022 06 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1873628

ABSTRACT

The effectiveness of mask wearing at controlling severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission has been unclear. While masks are known to substantially reduce disease transmission in healthcare settings [D. K. Chu et al., Lancet 395, 1973­1987 (2020); J. Howard et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 118, e2014564118 (2021); Y. Cheng et al., Science eabg6296 (2021)], studies in community settings report inconsistent results [H. M. Ollila et al., medRxiv (2020); J. Brainard et al., Eurosurveillance 25, 2000725 (2020); T. Jefferson et al., Cochrane Database Syst. Rev. 11, CD006207 (2020)]. Most such studies focus on how masks impact transmission, by analyzing how effective government mask mandates are. However, we find that widespread voluntary mask wearing, and other data limitations, make mandate effectiveness a poor proxy for mask-wearing effectiveness. We directly analyze the effect of mask wearing on SARS-CoV-2 transmission, drawing on several datasets covering 92 regions on six continents, including the largest survey of wearing behavior (n= 20 million) [F. Kreuter et al., https://gisumd.github.io/COVID-19-API-Documentation (2020)]. Using a Bayesian hierarchical model, we estimate the effect of mask wearing on transmission, by linking reported wearing levels to reported cases in each region, while adjusting for mobility and nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), such as bans on large gatherings. Our estimates imply that the mean observed level of mask wearing corresponds to a 19% decrease in the reproduction number R. We also assess the robustness of our results in 60 tests spanning 20 sensitivity analyses. In light of these results, policy makers can effectively reduce transmission by intervening to increase mask wearing.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Masks , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Public Policy , Surveys and Questionnaires
19.
Nat Med ; 28(7): 1476-1485, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1830084

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Gamma variant of concern has spread rapidly across Brazil since late 2020, causing substantial infection and death waves. Here we used individual-level patient records after hospitalization with suspected or confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) between 20 January 2020 and 26 July 2021 to document temporary, sweeping shocks in hospital fatality rates that followed the spread of Gamma across 14 state capitals, during which typically more than half of hospitalized patients aged 70 years and older died. We show that such extensive shocks in COVID-19 in-hospital fatality rates also existed before the detection of Gamma. Using a Bayesian fatality rate model, we found that the geographic and temporal fluctuations in Brazil's COVID-19 in-hospital fatality rates were primarily associated with geographic inequities and shortages in healthcare capacity. We estimate that approximately half of the COVID-19 deaths in hospitals in the 14 cities could have been avoided without pre-pandemic geographic inequities and without pandemic healthcare pressure. Our results suggest that investments in healthcare resources, healthcare optimization and pandemic preparedness are critical to minimize population-wide mortality and morbidity caused by highly transmissible and deadly pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2, especially in low- and middle-income countries.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Bayes Theorem , Brazil/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Hospitals , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
20.
Lancet Infect Dis ; 22(7): 967-976, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1799640

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Estimates of the severity of the SARS-CoV-2 omicron variant (B.1.1.529) are crucial to assess the public health impact associated with its rapid global dissemination. We estimated the risk of SARS-CoV-2-related hospitalisations after infection with omicron compared with the delta variant (B.1.617.2) in Denmark, a country with high mRNA vaccination coverage and extensive free-of-charge PCR testing capacity. METHODS: In this observational cohort study, we included all RT-PCR-confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Denmark, with samples taken between Nov 21 (date of first omicron-positive sample) and Dec 19, 2021. Individuals were identified in the national COVID-19 surveillance system database, which included results of a variant-specific RT-PCR that detected omicron cases, and data on SARS-CoV-2-related hospitalisations (primary outcome of the study). We calculated the risk ratio (RR) of hospitalisation after infection with omicron compared with delta, overall and stratified by vaccination status, in a Poisson regression model with robust SEs, adjusted a priori for reinfection status, sex, age, region, comorbidities, and time period. FINDINGS: Between Nov 21 and Dec 19, 2021, among the 188 980 individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection, 38 669 (20·5%) had the omicron variant. SARS-CoV-2-related hospitalisations and omicron cases increased during the study period. Overall, 124 313 (65·8%) of 188 980 individuals were vaccinated, and vaccination was associated with a lower risk of hospitalisation (adjusted RR 0·24, 95% CI 0·22-0·26) compared with cases with no doses or only one dose of vaccine. Compared with delta infection, omicron infection was associated with an adjusted RR of hospitalisation of 0·64 (95% CI 0·56-0·75; 222 [0·6%] of 38 669 omicron cases admitted to hospital vs 2213 [1·5%] of 150 311 delta cases). For a similar comparison by vaccination status, the RR of hospitalisation was 0·57 (0·44-0·75) among cases with no or only one dose of vaccine, 0·71 (0·60-0·86) among those who received two doses, and 0·50 (0·32-0·76) among those who received three doses. INTERPRETATION: We found a significantly lower risk of hospitalisation with omicron infection compared with delta infection among both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, suggesting an inherent reduced severity of omicron. Our results could guide modelling of the effect of the ongoing global omicron wave and thus health-care system preparedness. FUNDING: None.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hepatitis D , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cohort Studies , Denmark/epidemiology , Hospitalization , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
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