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1.
Am J Public Health ; 112(12): 1721-1725, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2089551

ABSTRACT

Vaccination remains key to reducing the risk of COVID-19-related severe illness and death. Because of historic medical exclusion and barriers to access, Black communities have had lower rates of COVID-19 vaccination than White communities. We describe the efforts of an academic medical institution to implement community-based COVID-19 vaccine clinics in medically underserved neighborhoods in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Over a 13-month period (April 2021-April 2022), the initiative delivered 9038 vaccine doses to community members, a majority of whom (57%) identified as Black. (Am J Public Health. 2022;112(12):1721-1725. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2022.307030).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Humans , Medically Underserved Area , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Philadelphia/epidemiology , Vaccination
2.
JAMA Netw Open ; 5(9): e2232110, 2022 09 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2047368

ABSTRACT

Importance: The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed nearly 6 million lives globally as of February 2022. While pandemic control efforts, including contact tracing, have traditionally been the purview of state and local health departments, the COVID-19 pandemic outpaced health department capacity, necessitating actions by private health systems to investigate and control outbreaks, mitigate transmission, and support patients and communities. Objective: To investigate the process of designing and implementing a volunteer-staffed contact tracing program at a large academic health system from April 2020 to May 2021, including program structure, lessons learned through implementation, results of case investigation and contact tracing efforts, and reflections on how constrained resources may be best allocated in the current pandemic or future public health emergencies. Design, Setting, and Participants: This case series study was conducted among patients at the University of Pennsylvania Health System and in partnership with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. Patients who tested positive for COVID-19 were contacted to counsel them regarding safe isolation practices, identify and support quarantine of their close contacts, and provide resources, such as food and medicine, needed during isolation or quarantine. Results: Of 5470 individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 and received calls from a volunteer, 2982 individuals (54.5%; median [range] age, 42 [18-97] years; 1628 [59.4%] women among 2741 cases with sex data) were interviewed; among 2683 cases with race data, there were 110 Asian individuals (3.9%), 1476 Black individuals (52.7%), and 817 White individuals (29.2%), and among 2667 cases with ethnicity data, there were 366 Hispanic individuals (13.1%) and 2301 individuals who were not Hispanic (82.6%). Most individuals lived in a household with 2 to 5 people (2125 of 2904 individuals with household data [71.6%]). Of 3222 unique contacts, 1780 close contacts (55.2%; median [range] age, 40 [18-97] years; 866 [55.3%] women among 1565 contacts with sex data) were interviewed; among 1523 contacts with race data, there were 69 Asian individuals (4.2%), 705 Black individuals (43.2%), and 573 White individuals (35.1%), and among 1514 contacts with ethnicity data, there were 202 Hispanic individuals (12.8%) and 1312 individuals (83.4%) who were not Hispanic. Most contacts lived in a household with 2 to 5 people (1123 of 1418 individuals with household data [79.2%]). Of 3324 cases and contacts who completed a questionnaire on unmet social needs, 907 (27.3%) experienced material hardships that would make it difficult for them to isolate or quarantine safely. Such hardship was significantly less common among White compared with Black participants (odds ratio, 0.20; 95% CI, 0.16-0.25). Conclusions and Relevance: These findings demonstrate the feasibility and challenges of implementing a case investigation and contact tracing program at an academic health system. In addition to successfully engaging most assigned COVID-19 cases and close contacts, contact tracers shared health information and material resources to support isolation and quarantine, thus filling local public health system gaps and supporting local pandemic control.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Contact Tracing , Academic Medical Centers , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Contact Tracing/methods , Female , Humans , Male , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Volunteers
3.
mBio ; 13(5): e0210122, 2022 Oct 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2001781

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic began by viral spillover from animals to humans; today multiple animal species are known to be susceptible to infection. White-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, are infected in North America at substantial levels, and genomic data suggests that a variant in deer may have spilled back to humans. Here, we characterize SARS-CoV-2 in deer from Pennsylvania (PA) sampled during fall and winter 2021. Of 123 nasal swab samples analyzed by RT-qPCR, 20 (16.3%) were positive for SARS-CoV-2. Seven whole genome sequences were obtained, together with six more partial spike gene sequences. These annotated as alpha and delta variants, the first reported observations of these lineages in deer, documenting multiple new jumps from humans to deer. The alpha lineage persisted in deer after its displacement by delta in humans, and deer-derived alpha variants diverged significantly from those in humans, consistent with a distinctive evolutionary trajectory in deer. IMPORTANCE Coronaviruses have been documented to replicate in numerous species of vertebrates, and multiple spillovers of coronaviruses from animals into humans have founded human epidemics. The COVID-19 epidemic likely derived from a spillover of SARS-CoV-2 from bats into humans, possibly via an intermediate host. There are now several examples of SARS-CoV-2 jumping from humans into other mammals, including mink and deer, creating the potential for new animal reservoirs from which spillback into humans could occur. For this reason, data on formation of new animal reservoirs is of great importance for understanding possible sources of future infection. Here, we identify extensive infection in white-tailed deer in Pennsylvania, including what appear to be multiple independent transmissions. Data further suggests possible transmission among deer. These data thus help identify a potential new animal reservoir and provide background information relevant to its management.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Deer , Animals , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Pennsylvania/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/veterinary
4.
mBio ; : e0378821, 2022 Feb 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1673352

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the cause of the global outbreak of COVID-19. Evidence suggests that the virus is evolving to allow efficient spread through the human population, including vaccinated individuals. Here, we report a study of viral variants from surveillance of the Delaware Valley, including the city of Philadelphia, and variants infecting vaccinated subjects. We sequenced and analyzed complete viral genomes from 2621 surveillance samples from March 2020 to September 2021 and compared them to genome sequences from 159 vaccine breakthroughs. In the early spring of 2020, all detected variants were of the B.1 and closely related lineages. A mixture of lineages followed, notably including B.1.243 followed by B.1.1.7 (alpha), with other lineages present at lower levels. Later isolations were dominated by B.1.617.2 (delta) and other delta lineages; delta was the exclusive variant present by the last time sampled. To investigate whether any variants appeared preferentially in vaccine breakthroughs, we devised a model based on Bayesian autoregressive moving average logistic multinomial regression to allow rigorous comparison. This revealed that B.1.617.2 (delta) showed 3-fold enrichment in vaccine breakthrough cases (odds ratio of 3; 95% credible interval 0.89-11). Viral point substitutions could also be associated with vaccine breakthroughs, notably the N501Y substitution found in the alpha, beta and gamma variants (odds ratio 2.04; 95% credible interval of1.25-3.18). This study thus overviews viral evolution and vaccine breakthroughs in the Delaware Valley and introduces a rigorous statistical approach to interrogating enrichment of breakthrough variants against a changing background. IMPORTANCE SARS-CoV-2 vaccination is highly effective at reducing viral infection, hospitalization and death. However, vaccine breakthrough infections have been widely observed, raising the question of whether particular viral variants or viral mutations are associated with breakthrough. Here, we report analysis of 2621 surveillance isolates from people diagnosed with COVID-19 in the Delaware Valley in southeastern Pennsylvania, allowing rigorous comparison to 159 vaccine breakthrough case specimens. Our best estimate is a 3-fold enrichment for some lineages of delta among breakthroughs, and enrichment of a notable spike substitution, N501Y. We introduce statistical methods that should be widely useful for evaluating vaccine breakthroughs and other viral phenotypes.

5.
J Med Internet Res ; 23(6): e29395, 2021 06 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1262585

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In 2020, the number of internet users surpassed 4.6 billion. Individuals who create and share digital data can leave a trail of information about their habits and preferences that collectively generate a digital footprint. Studies have shown that digital footprints can reveal important information regarding an individual's health status, ranging from diet and exercise to depression. Uses of digital applications have accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic where public health organizations have utilized technology to reduce the burden of transmission, ultimately leading to policy discussions about digital health privacy. Though US consumers report feeling concerned about the way their personal data is used, they continue to use digital technologies. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to understand the extent to which consumers recognize possible health applications of their digital data and identify their most salient concerns around digital health privacy. METHODS: We conducted semistructured interviews with a diverse national sample of US adults from November 2018 to January 2019. Participants were recruited from the Ipsos KnowledgePanel, a nationally representative panel. Participants were asked to reflect on their own use of digital technology, rate various sources of digital information, and consider several hypothetical scenarios with varying sources and health-related applications of personal digital information. RESULTS: The final cohort included a diverse national sample of 45 US consumers. Participants were generally unaware what consumer digital data might reveal about their health. They also revealed limited knowledge of current data collection and aggregation practices. When responding to specific scenarios with health-related applications of data, they had difficulty weighing the benefits and harms but expressed a desire for privacy protection. They saw benefits in using digital data to improve health, but wanted limits to health programs' use of consumer digital data. CONCLUSIONS: Current privacy restrictions on health-related data are premised on the notion that these data are derived only from medical encounters. Given that an increasing amount of health-related data is derived from digital footprints in consumer settings, our findings suggest the need for greater transparency of data collection and uses, and broader health privacy protections.


Subject(s)
Consumer Behavior/statistics & numerical data , Consumer Health Information/statistics & numerical data , Data Collection/ethics , Datasets as Topic/supply & distribution , Interviews as Topic , Privacy/psychology , Qualitative Research , Adolescent , Adult , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , United States , Young Adult
8.
American Journal of Public Health ; 111(1):50-53, 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1049410

ABSTRACT

Nightly, many of these individuals must make the difficult decision between lodging in crowded shelters, where the risk of outbreaks is high, and staying outdoors, where they must weather the elements and risk their safety.3 5 Many people experiencing homelessness also have little or no access to personal protective equipment and testing, and even when testing is available, it may be challenging to conduct contact tracing and quarantine individuals in this population because of their lack of housing and limited access to mobile phones and mailing addresses.6 Furthermore, given their preexisting medical conditions and other factors such as poor nutrition and lack of health insurance, people experiencing homelessness are also more likely to have worse outcomes if they develop COVID-19.17 The COVID-19 pandemic has also affected the nonprofit organizations that provide people experiencing homelessness with basic needs such as food, clothing, and medical care. With dedicated funding from the Starbucks Foundation and Independence Foundation, the nonprofit organization and its community partners have committed to refilling the stations with soap, water, and paper towels for the duration ofthe pandemic so that all Philadelphians will have access to sanitation regardless of their housing status. yflPU ABOUT THE AUTHORS Yoonhee P. Ha, Amy Hillier, and Carolyn C. Cannusclo are with the Center for Public Health Initiatives and the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Morbidity and mortality in homeless individuals, prisoners, sex workers, and individuals with substance use disorders in high-income countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

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