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1.
Euro Surveill ; 27(11)2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1753318

ABSTRACT

When SARS-CoV-2 Omicron emerged in 2021, S gene target failure enabled differentiation between Omicron and the dominant Delta variant. In England, where S gene target surveillance (SGTS) was already established, this led to rapid identification (within ca 3 days of sample collection) of possible Omicron cases, alongside real-time surveillance and modelling of Omicron growth. SGTS was key to public health action (including case identification and incident management), and we share applied insights on how and when to use SGTS.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Membrane Glycoproteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Viral Envelope Proteins/genetics
2.
Lancet ; 399(10332): 1303-1312, 2022 04 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1740323

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The omicron variant (B.1.1.529) of SARS-CoV-2 has demonstrated partial vaccine escape and high transmissibility, with early studies indicating lower severity of infection than that of the delta variant (B.1.617.2). We aimed to better characterise omicron severity relative to delta by assessing the relative risk of hospital attendance, hospital admission, or death in a large national cohort. METHODS: Individual-level data on laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases resident in England between Nov 29, 2021, and Jan 9, 2022, were linked to routine datasets on vaccination status, hospital attendance and admission, and mortality. The relative risk of hospital attendance or admission within 14 days, or death within 28 days after confirmed infection, was estimated using proportional hazards regression. Analyses were stratified by test date, 10-year age band, ethnicity, residential region, and vaccination status, and were further adjusted for sex, index of multiple deprivation decile, evidence of a previous infection, and year of age within each age band. A secondary analysis estimated variant-specific and vaccine-specific vaccine effectiveness and the intrinsic relative severity of omicron infection compared with delta (ie, the relative risk in unvaccinated cases). FINDINGS: The adjusted hazard ratio (HR) of hospital attendance (not necessarily resulting in admission) with omicron compared with delta was 0·56 (95% CI 0·54-0·58); for hospital admission and death, HR estimates were 0·41 (0·39-0·43) and 0·31 (0·26-0·37), respectively. Omicron versus delta HR estimates varied with age for all endpoints examined. The adjusted HR for hospital admission was 1·10 (0·85-1·42) in those younger than 10 years, decreasing to 0·25 (0·21-0·30) in 60-69-year-olds, and then increasing to 0·47 (0·40-0·56) in those aged at least 80 years. For both variants, past infection gave some protection against death both in vaccinated (HR 0·47 [0·32-0·68]) and unvaccinated (0·18 [0·06-0·57]) cases. In vaccinated cases, past infection offered no additional protection against hospital admission beyond that provided by vaccination (HR 0·96 [0·88-1·04]); however, for unvaccinated cases, past infection gave moderate protection (HR 0·55 [0·48-0·63]). Omicron versus delta HR estimates were lower for hospital admission (0·30 [0·28-0·32]) in unvaccinated cases than the corresponding HR estimated for all cases in the primary analysis. Booster vaccination with an mRNA vaccine was highly protective against hospitalisation and death in omicron cases (HR for hospital admission 8-11 weeks post-booster vs unvaccinated: 0·22 [0·20-0·24]), with the protection afforded after a booster not being affected by the vaccine used for doses 1 and 2. INTERPRETATION: The risk of severe outcomes following SARS-CoV-2 infection is substantially lower for omicron than for delta, with higher reductions for more severe endpoints and significant variation with age. Underlying the observed risks is a larger reduction in intrinsic severity (in unvaccinated individuals) counterbalanced by a reduction in vaccine effectiveness. Documented previous SARS-CoV-2 infection offered some protection against hospitalisation and high protection against death in unvaccinated individuals, but only offered additional protection in vaccinated individuals for the death endpoint. Booster vaccination with mRNA vaccines maintains over 70% protection against hospitalisation and death in breakthrough confirmed omicron infections. FUNDING: Medical Research Council, UK Research and Innovation, Department of Health and Social Care, National Institute for Health Research, Community Jameel, and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Cohort Studies , England/epidemiology , Hospitalization , Humans , Vaccines, Synthetic
3.
N Engl J Med ; 386(16): 1532-1546, 2022 04 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1730372

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: A rapid increase in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases due to the omicron (B.1.1.529) variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 in highly vaccinated populations has aroused concerns about the effectiveness of current vaccines. METHODS: We used a test-negative case-control design to estimate vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease caused by the omicron and delta (B.1.617.2) variants in England. Vaccine effectiveness was calculated after primary immunization with two doses of BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech), ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AstraZeneca), or mRNA-1273 (Moderna) vaccine and after a booster dose of BNT162b2, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, or mRNA-1273. RESULTS: Between November 27, 2021, and January 12, 2022, a total of 886,774 eligible persons infected with the omicron variant, 204,154 eligible persons infected with the delta variant, and 1,572,621 eligible test-negative controls were identified. At all time points investigated and for all combinations of primary course and booster vaccines, vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease was higher for the delta variant than for the omicron variant. No effect against the omicron variant was noted from 20 weeks after two ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 doses, whereas vaccine effectiveness after two BNT162b2 doses was 65.5% (95% confidence interval [CI], 63.9 to 67.0) at 2 to 4 weeks, dropping to 8.8% (95% CI, 7.0 to 10.5) at 25 or more weeks. Among ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 primary course recipients, vaccine effectiveness increased to 62.4% (95% CI, 61.8 to 63.0) at 2 to 4 weeks after a BNT162b2 booster before decreasing to 39.6% (95% CI, 38.0 to 41.1) at 10 or more weeks. Among BNT162b2 primary course recipients, vaccine effectiveness increased to 67.2% (95% CI, 66.5 to 67.8) at 2 to 4 weeks after a BNT162b2 booster before declining to 45.7% (95% CI, 44.7 to 46.7) at 10 or more weeks. Vaccine effectiveness after a ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 primary course increased to 70.1% (95% CI, 69.5 to 70.7) at 2 to 4 weeks after an mRNA-1273 booster and decreased to 60.9% (95% CI, 59.7 to 62.1) at 5 to 9 weeks. After a BNT162b2 primary course, the mRNA-1273 booster increased vaccine effectiveness to 73.9% (95% CI, 73.1 to 74.6) at 2 to 4 weeks; vaccine effectiveness fell to 64.4% (95% CI, 62.6 to 66.1) at 5 to 9 weeks. CONCLUSIONS: Primary immunization with two doses of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or BNT162b2 vaccine provided limited protection against symptomatic disease caused by the omicron variant. A BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273 booster after either the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or BNT162b2 primary course substantially increased protection, but that protection waned over time. (Funded by the U.K. Health Security Agency.).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , /therapeutic use , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , Case-Control Studies , Humans , Immunization, Secondary/adverse effects , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
4.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-308535

ABSTRACT

Background: Care homes worldwide have suffered high rates of COVID-19, reflecting their inherent vulnerability and the institutional nature of care delivered. This study describes the impact of the pandemic in care homes across England.Method: Laboratory confirmed SARS-CoV-2 cases in England notified to PHE from 01 Jan to 25 Dec 2020 were address-matched to identify residential property classifications. Data were analysed to characterise cases and identify clusters. Associated deaths were defined as death within 60 days of diagnosis or certified as cause of death.Findings: Of 1,936,315 COVID-19 cases, 81,275 (4·2%) and 10,050 (0·52%) were identified as resident or staff in a care home, respectively, with 20,544 associated deaths identified, accounting for 31·3% of all COVID-19 deaths. Cases were identified in 69·5% of all care homes in England, with 33.1% experiencing multiple outbreaks. Multivariable analysis showed a 67% increased odds of death in care home residents ( aOR: 1·67, 95% CI: 1·63-1·72) . A total of 10,321 outbreaks were identified at these facilities, of which 8·2% identified the first case as a staff member.Interpretation: Care homes have experienced large and widespread outbreaks of COVID-19, with almost 70% affected, and just under one-third of all COVID-19 deaths occurring in this setting in-spite of early policies. A key implication of our findings is upsurges in community incidences seemingly leading to increased care homes outbreaks, thus identifying and shielding residents from key sources of infection, particularly surrounding staff, is vital to reduce the number of future outbreaks.Funding Statement: Funded by Public Health EnglandDeclaration of Interests: We declare no conflicts of interest.Ethics Approval Statement: All data were collected within statutory approvals granted to Public Health England for infectious disease surveillance and control. Information was held securely and in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and Caldicott guidelines.

5.
EuropePMC;
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-327707

ABSTRACT

Background: The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) has rapidly replaced the Delta variant (B.1.617.2) to become dominant in England. This epidemiological study assessed differences in transmissibility between the Omicron and Delta using two methods and data sources. Methods Omicron and Delta cases were identified through genomic sequencing, genotyping and S-gene target failure in England from 5-11 December 2021. Secondary attack rates for Omicron and Delta using named contacts and household clustering were calculated using national surveillance and contact tracing data. Logistic regression was used to control for factors associated with transmission. Findings Analysis of contact tracing data identified elevated secondary attack rates for Omicron vs Delta in household (15.0% vs 10.8%) and non-household (8.2% vs 3.7%) settings. The proportion of index cases resulting in residential clustering was twice as high for Omicron (16.1%) compared to Delta (7.3%). Transmission was significantly less likely from cases, or in named contacts, in receipt of three compared to two vaccine doses in household settings, but less pronounced for Omicron (aRR 0.78 and 0.88) compared to Delta (aRR 0.62 and 0.68). In non-household settings, a similar reduction was observed for Delta cases and contacts (aRR 0.84 and 0.51) but only for Omicron contacts (aRR 0.76, 95% CI: 0.58-0.93) and not cases in receipt of three vs two doses (aRR 0.95, 0.77-1.16). Interpretation Our study identified increased risk of onward transmission of Omicron, consistent with its successful global displacement of Delta. We identified a reduced effectiveness of vaccination in lowering risk of transmission, a likely contributor for the rapid propagation of Omicron.

6.
SSRN;
Preprint in English | SSRN | ID: ppcovidwho-326260

ABSTRACT

Background: The Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) of SARS-CoV-2 has demonstrated partial vaccine escape and high transmissibility, with early studies indicating lower severity of infection compared with Delta (B.1.617.2). We sought to better characterise Omicron severity relative to Delta by assessing the relative risk of hospital attendance, hospital admission or death in a large national cohort. Methods: Individual-level data on laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases resident in England between 22 November 2021 and 9 January 2022 were linked to routine datasets on vaccination status, hospitalisation and mortality. The relative risk of attendance at hospital within 14 days, or death within 28 days following confirmed infection, was estimated using proportional hazards regression. Analyses were stratified by test date, 10-year age band, ethnicity, region and vaccination status and further adjusted for sex, index of multiple deprivation decile, evidence of a prior infection and year of age within each age band. A secondary analysis estimated variant- and vaccine-specific vaccine effectiveness and the intrinsic relative severity of Omicron infection compared with Delta;i.e. the relative risk in unvaccinated cases. Findings: We found that the adjusted hazard ratio (HR) of hospital attendance (not necessarily resulting in admission) with Omicron compared with Delta was 0.56 (95%CI: 0.54-0.58);for hospital admission and death the estimates were 0.41 (95%CI: 0.39-0.43) and 0.31 (95%CI: 0.26-0.37), respectively. Omicron vs Delta HR estimates varied with age for all endpoints examined: the adjusted HR for hospital admission was 1.07 (95%CI: 0.83-1.38) in <10 year-olds, falling to 0.25 (95%CI: 0.21-0.30) in 60-69 year-olds, and rising to 0.48 (95%CI: 0.40-0.57) in ≥80 year-olds. For both variants, past infection gave some protection against death both in vaccinated (HR: 0.45 [95%CI: 0.30-0.68]) and unvaccinated (0.14 [95%CI: 0.04-0.45]) cases. In vaccinated cases, past infection offered no additional protection against hospital admission beyond that provided by vaccination (HR: 0.99 [95%CI: 0.9-1.08]), whilst for unvaccinated cases moderate protection remained (HR: 0.53 [95%CI: 0.46-0.61]). Estimation of variant-specific vaccine effectiveness gave lower Omicron vs Delta HR estimates for hospital admission (0.29 [95%CI: 0.28-0.31]) in unvaccinated cases than estimated for all cases in the primary analysis. Booster vaccination with an mRNA vaccine was highly protective against hospitalisation and death in Omicron cases (HR for hospital admission 8-11 weeks post booster, compared with unvaccinated: 0.22 [95%CI: 0.19-0.24]), with the protection afforded after a booster not being significantly affected by the vaccine used for doses 1 and 2. Interpretation: The risk of severe outcomes following SARS-CoV-2 infection is substantially lower for Omicron compared with Delta cases, with higher reductions for more severe endpoints and significant variation with age. The (low) risk of hospital admission in children <10 years of age did not differ significantly by variant, while 60-69 year-olds had an approximately 75% reduced risk of hospital admission with Omicron compared with Delta. Underlying the observed HRs is a larger reduction in intrinsic severity (in unvaccinated individuals) counterbalanced by a reduction in vaccine effectiveness. A documented previous SARS-CoV-2 infection offered some protection against hospitalisation and high protection against death in unvac

7.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-296519

ABSTRACT

Abstract Background A rapid increase in cases due to the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant in highly vaccinated populations has raised concerns about the effectiveness of current vaccines. Methods We used a test-negative case-control design to estimate vaccine effectiveness (VE) against symptomatic disease caused by the Omicron and Delta variants in England. VE was calculated after primary immunisation with two BNT162b2 or ChAdOx1 doses, and at 2+ weeks following a BNT162b2 booster. Results Between 27 November and 06 December 2021, 581 and 56,439 eligible Omicron and Delta cases respectively were identified. There were 130,867 eligible test-negative controls. There was no effect against Omicron from 15 weeks after two ChAdOx1 doses, while VE after two BNT162b2 doses was 88.0% (95%CI: 65.9 to 95.8%) 2-9 weeks after dose 2, dropping to between 34 and 37% from 15 weeks post dose 2.From two weeks after a BNT162b2 booster, VE increased to 71.4% (95%CI: 41.8 to 86.0%) for ChAdOx1 primary course recipients and 75.5% (95%CI: 56.1 to 86.3%) for BNT162b2 primary course recipients. For cases with Delta, VE was 41.8% (95%CI: 39.4-44.1%) at 25+ weeks after two ChAdOx1 doses, increasing to 93.8% (95%CI: 93.2-94.3%) after a BNT162b2 booster. With a BNT162b2 primary course, VE was 63.5% (95%CI: 61.4 to 65.5%) 25+ weeks after dose 2, increasing to 92.6% (95%CI: 92.0-93.1%) two weeks after the booster. Conclusions Primary immunisation with two BNT162b2 or ChAdOx1 doses provided no or limited protection against symptomatic disease with the Omicron variant. Boosting with BNT162b2 following either primary course significantly increased protection.

8.
Int J Epidemiol ; 50(6): 1804-1813, 2022 01 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1381008

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Long-term care facilities (LTCF) worldwide have suffered high rates of COVID-19, reflecting the vulnerability of the persons who live there and the institutional nature of care delivered. This study describes the impact of the pandemic on incidences and deaths in LTCF across England. METHODS: Laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 cases in England, notified to Public Health England from 01 Jan to 25 Dec 2020, were address-matched to an Ordnance Survey reference database to identify residential property classifications. Data were analysed to characterize cases and identify clusters. Associated deaths were defined as death within 60 days of diagnosis or certified as cause of death. RESULTS: Of 1 936 315 COVID-19 cases, 81 275 (4.2%) and 10 050 (0.52%) were identified as resident or staff in an LTCF, respectively, with 20 544 associated deaths in residents, accounting for 31.3% of all COVID-19 deaths. Cases were identified in 69.5% of all LTCFs in England, with 33.1% experiencing multiple outbreaks. Multivariable analysis showed a 67% increased odds of death in residents [adjusted odds ratio (aOR): 1.67, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.63-1.72], compared with those not residing in LTCFs. A total of 10 321 outbreaks were identified at these facilities, of which 8.2% identified the first case as a staff member. CONCLUSIONS: Over two-thirds of LTCFs have experienced large and widespread outbreaks of COVID-19, and just under one-third of all COVID-19 deaths occurring in this setting in spite of early policies. A key implication of our findings is upsurges in community incidences seemingly leading to increased outbreaks in LTCFs; thus, identifying and shielding residents from key sources of infection are vital to reduce the number of future outbreaks.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Long-Term Care , Humans , Pandemics , Population Surveillance , SARS-CoV-2
9.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 27(5): 1468-1471, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1201503

ABSTRACT

Of the 58,186 coronavirus deaths among adults in England during March-December 2020, 77% occurred in hospitals, 93% were in patients >60 years, and 91% occurred within 28 days of positive specimen. Cumulative mortality rates were highest among persons of Black, Asian, other, or mixed ethnicities and in socioeconomically deprived areas.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , England/epidemiology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
10.
Epidemiol Infect ; 149: e73, 2021 03 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1145031

ABSTRACT

The spatio-temporal dynamics of an outbreak provide important insights to help direct public health resources intended to control transmission. They also provide a focus for detailed epidemiological studies and allow the timing and impact of interventions to be assessed.A common approach is to aggregate case data to administrative regions. Whilst providing a good visual impression of change over space, this method masks spatial variation and assumes that disease risk is constant across space. Risk factors for COVID-19 (e.g. population density, deprivation and ethnicity) vary from place to place across England so it follows that risk will also vary spatially. Kernel density estimation compares the spatial distribution of cases relative to the underlying population, unfettered by arbitrary geographical boundaries, to produce a continuous estimate of spatially varying risk.Using test results from healthcare settings in England (Pillar 1 of the UK Government testing strategy) and freely available methods and software, we estimated the spatial and spatio-temporal risk of COVID-19 infection across England for the first 6 months of 2020. Widespread transmission was underway when partial lockdown measures were introduced on 23 March 2020 and the greatest risk erred towards large urban areas. The rapid growth phase of the outbreak coincided with multiple introductions to England from the European mainland. The spatio-temporal risk was highly labile throughout.In terms of controlling transmission, the most important practical application of our results is the accurate identification of areas within regions that may require tailored intervention strategies. We recommend that this approach is absorbed into routine surveillance outputs in England. Further risk characterisation using widespread community testing (Pillar 2) data is needed as is the increased use of predictive spatial models at fine spatial scales.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , Time Factors , COVID-19/classification , COVID-19/epidemiology , England/epidemiology , Humans , Population Surveillance/methods , Risk Evaluation and Mitigation , Risk Factors , Spatio-Temporal Analysis , Urban Population/statistics & numerical data
11.
Euro Surveill ; 26(11)2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1143384

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 variant of concern (VOC) is increasing in prevalence across Europe. Accurate estimation of disease severity associated with this VOC is critical for pandemic planning. We found increased risk of death for VOC compared with non-VOC cases in England (hazard ratio: 1.67; 95% confidence interval: 1.34-2.09; p < 0.0001). Absolute risk of death by 28 days increased with age and comorbidities. This VOC has potential to spread faster with higher mortality than the pandemic to date.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Age Factors , Comorbidity , England/epidemiology , Humans
12.
Influenza Other Respir Viruses ; 15(3): 336-344, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1112254

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Knowledge gaps remain regarding SARS-CoV-2 transmission on flights. We conducted a retrospective cohort study to estimate risk of acquiring symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 on aircraft, to inform contact tracing and infection control efforts. METHODS: We identified co-passengers of infectious passengers on 18 England-bound flights from European cities up to 12/03/2020, using manifests received for contact tracing. Infectious passengers were laboratory-confirmed cases with symptom onset from 7 days before to 2 days after the flight. Possible aircraft-acquired cases were laboratory-confirmed with onset 3-14 days post-flight with no known non-flight exposure. Manifests was merged with the national case management dataset (identifying cases, onset dates, contact tracing status) and the national COVID-19 linelist. Contact tracing notes were reviewed to identify non-flight exposures. We calculated attack rates (ARs) among all co-passengers and within subgroups, including by distance from infectious cases and number of infectious cases on-board. RESULTS: There were 55 infectious passengers and 2313 co-passengers, including 2221 flight-only contacts. Five possible aircraft-acquired cases were identified; ARs of 0.2% (95%CI 0.1-0.5) among all flight-only contacts and 3.8% (95%CI 1.3-10.6) among contact-traced flight-only contacts sat within a two-seat radius. The AR among 92 co-travellers with known non-flight exposure to infectious cases was 13.0% (95%CI 7.6%-21.4%). There were insufficient numbers to assess differences between subgroups. CONCLUSION: We conclude that risk of symptomatic COVID-19 due to transmission on short to medium-haul flights is low, and recommend prioritising contact-tracing of close contacts and co-travellers where resources are limited. Further research on risk on aircraft is encouraged.


Subject(s)
Air Travel , COVID-19/transmission , Contact Tracing , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , COVID-19/etiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Physical Distancing , Retrospective Studies , Risk Factors , Whole Genome Sequencing
13.
BMJ Open ; 11(2): e044384, 2021 02 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1090929

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this paper is to describe evolution, epidemiology and clinical outcomes of COVID-19 in subjects tested at or admitted to hospitals in North West London. DESIGN: Observational cohort study. SETTING: London North West Healthcare NHS Trust (LNWH). PARTICIPANTS: Patients tested and/or admitted for COVID-19 at LNWH during March and April 2020 MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Descriptive and analytical epidemiology of demographic and clinical outcomes (intensive care unit (ICU) admission, mechanical ventilation and mortality) of those who tested positive for COVID-19. RESULTS: The outbreak began in the first week of March 2020 and reached a peak by the end of March and first week of April. In the study period, 6183 tests were performed in on 4981 people. Of the 2086 laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases, 1901 were admitted to hospital. Older age group, men and those of black or Asian minority ethnic (BAME) group were predominantly affected (p<0.05). These groups also had more severe infection resulting in ICU admission and need for mechanical ventilation (p<0.05). However, in a multivariate analysis, only increasing age was independently associated with increased risk of death (p<0.05). Mortality rate was 26.9% in hospitalised patients. CONCLUSION: The findings confirm that men, BAME and older population were most commonly and severely affected groups. Only older age was independently associated with mortality.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Hospitalization , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/mortality , Child , Child, Preschool , Cohort Studies , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Intensive Care Units , London/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Respiration, Artificial , Risk Factors , Young Adult
14.
Soc Policy Adm ; 2020 Dec 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-950918

ABSTRACT

Nordic welfare states are known for their universalistic and all-encompassing approach to welfare and having a long tradition for active labour market policy as tool in economic crises with adverse impact on employment. They have had a long tradition for strong egalitarian approaches and their residents are consistently among the happiest in the world. A key issue is whether a crisis like the COVID-19 outbreak is changing the Nordic welfare states. This article focuses on providing a description of what instruments the Nordic countries have taken or expect to use as part of dealing with the welfare challenges resulting from rising unemployment and greater social and economic insecurity in the wake of the crisis. The tentative conclusion is that the crisis so far has strengthened key characteristics of the Nordic welfare states by the state taking on a strong central role not only for the functioning of the market but also continued in a path-dependent way with universal and relatively generous benefits such as for those who become unemployed or have reduced income because of the crisis.

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