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1.
PLoS Negl Trop Dis ; 16(3): e0010228, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1731580

ABSTRACT

Colombia announced the first case of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 on March 6, 2020. Since then, the country has reported a total of 5,002,387 cases and 127,258 deaths as of October 31, 2021. The aggressive transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 motivate an investigation of COVID-19 at the national and regional levels in Colombia. We utilize the case incidence and mortality data to estimate the transmission potential and generate short-term forecasts of the COVID-19 pandemic to inform the public health policies using previously validated mathematical models. The analysis is augmented by the examination of geographic heterogeneity of COVID-19 at the departmental level along with the investigation of mobility and social media trends. Overall, the national and regional reproduction numbers show sustained disease transmission during the early phase of the pandemic, exhibiting sub-exponential growth dynamics. Whereas the most recent estimates of reproduction number indicate disease containment, with Rt<1.0 as of October 31, 2021. On the forecasting front, the sub-epidemic model performs best at capturing the 30-day ahead COVID-19 trajectory compared to the Richards and generalized logistic growth model. Nevertheless, the spatial variability in the incidence rate patterns across different departments can be grouped into four distinct clusters. As the case incidence surged in July 2020, an increase in mobility patterns was also observed. On the contrary, a spike in the number of tweets indicating the stay-at-home orders was observed in November 2020 when the case incidence had already plateaued, indicating the pandemic fatigue in the country.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Colombia/epidemiology , Forecasting , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
2.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-308510

ABSTRACT

Background: Ensemble modeling aims to boost the forecasting performance by systematically integrating the predictive accuracy across individual models. Here we introduce a simple-yet-powerful ensemble methodology for forecasting the trajectory of dynamic growth processes, such as the spread of infectious diseases, that are defined by a system of non-linear differential equations. Methods: : We propose and assess the performance of two ensemble modeling schemes with different parametric bootstrapping procedures for trajectory forecasting and uncertainty quantification. Specifically, we conduct sequential probabilistic forecasts to evaluate their forecasting performance using simple dynamical growth models with good track records including the Richards model, the generalized-logistic growth model, and the Gompertz model. We first demonstrate the functionality of the method using simulated data from phenomenological models and a mechanistic transmission model. Next, the performance of the method is demonstrated using a diversity of epidemic datasets including scenario outbreak data of the Ebola Forecasting Challenge and real-world epidemic data outbreaks of including influenza, plague, Zika, and COVID-19. Results: : We found that the ensemble method that randomly selects a model from the set of individual models for each time point of the trajectory of the epidemic frequently outcompetes the individual models as well as an alternative ensemble method based on the weighted combination of the individual models and yields broader and more realistic uncertainty bounds for the trajectory envelope and achieves not only better coverage rate of the 95% prediction interval but also improved mean interval scores across a diversity of epidemic datasets. Conclusion: We introduced new methodology for ensemble forecasting that outcompetes component models and an alternative ensemble model that differ in how the variance is evaluated for the generation of the prediction intervals of the forecasts.

3.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-319676

ABSTRACT

Objectives. Public health officials need tools to assist with anticipating the healthcare resources required to confront the SARS-COV-2 pandemic. We built a modeling tool to aid practicing public health officials with estimating healthcare demand from the pandemic in their jurisdictions and to evaluate the potential impacts of population-wide social-distancing interventions. Methods. The tool uses a SEIR compartmental model to project the local spread of the pandemic. Users input case counts, healthcare resources, and select intervention strategies to evaluate. Outputs include the number of infections and deaths with and without intervention, and the demand for hospital and critical care beds and ventilators relative to existing capacity. We illustrate the tool using data from three regions of Chile. Results. Our scenarios indicate a surge in COVID-19 patients could overwhelm Chilean hospitals by June, peaking in July or August at 6 to 50 times the current supply of beds and ventilators. A lockdown strategy or combination of case isolation, home quarantine, social distancing of individuals greater than 70 years, and telework interventions may keep treatment demand below capacity. Conclusions. Aggressive interventions can avert substantial morbidity and mortality from COVID-19. Our tool permits rapid evaluation of locally-applicable policy scenarios and updating of results as new data become available.

4.
Ann Epidemiol ; 68: 37-44, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1682900

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: To examine the time-varying reproduction number, Rt, for COVID-19 in Arkansas and Kentucky and investigate the impact of policies and preventative measures on the variability in Rt. METHODS: Arkansas and Kentucky county-level COVID-19 cumulative case count data (March 6-November 7, 2020) were obtained. Rt was estimated using the R package 'EpiEstim', by county, region (Delta, non-Delta, Appalachian, non-Appalachian), and policy measures. RESULTS: The Rt was initially high, falling below 1 in May or June depending on the region, before stabilizing around 1 in the later months. The median Rt for Arkansas and Kentucky at the end of the study were 1.15 (95% credible interval [CrI], 1.13, 1.18) and 1.10 (95% CrI, 1.08, 1.12), respectively, and remained above 1 for the non-Appalachian region. Rt decreased when facial coverings were mandated, changing by -10.64% (95% CrI, -10.60%, -10.70%) in Arkansas and -5.93% (95% CrI, -4.31%, -7.65%) in Kentucky. The trends in Rt estimates were mostly associated with the implementation and relaxation of social distancing measures. CONCLUSIONS: Arkansas and Kentucky maintained a median Rt above 1 during the entire study period. Changes in Rt estimates allow quantitative estimates of potential impact of policies such as facemask mandate.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Arkansas/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Health Policy , Humans , Kentucky/epidemiology , Population Density , Reproduction
5.
Math Biosci Eng ; 19(3): 3242-3268, 2022 01 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1662737

ABSTRACT

In the absence of reliable information about transmission mechanisms for emerging infectious diseases, simple phenomenological models could provide a starting point to assess the potential outcomes of unfolding public health emergencies, particularly when the epidemiological characteristics of the disease are poorly understood or subject to substantial uncertainty. In this study, we employ the modified Richards model to analyze the growth of an epidemic in terms of 1) the number of times cumulative cases double until the epidemic peaks and 2) the rate at which the intervals between consecutive doubling times increase during the early ascending stage of the outbreak. Our theoretical analysis of doubling times is combined with rigorous numerical simulations and uncertainty quantification using synthetic and real data for COVID-19 pandemic. The doubling-time approach allows to employ early epidemic data to differentiate between the most dangerous threats, which double in size many times over the intervals that are nearly invariant, and the least transmissible diseases, which double in size only a few times with doubling periods rapidly growing.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Communicable Diseases , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Diseases/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
6.
Frontiers of Economics in China ; 16(2):263-306, 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1603778

ABSTRACT

School closures are an important public health intervention during epidemics. Yet, the existing estimates of policy costs and benefits overlook the impact of human behavior and labor market conditions. We use an integrated assessment framework to quantify the public health benefits and the economic costs of school closures based on activity patterns derived from the American Time-Use Survey (ATUS) for a pandemic like COVID-19. We develop a policy decision framework based on marginal benefits and costs to estimate the optimal school closure duration. The results suggest that the optimal school closure depends on how people reallocate their time when schools are closed. Widespread social distancing behavior implemented early and for a long duration can delay the epidemic for years, buying time for the development of pharmaceutical interventions and yielding substantial net benefits. Conversely, school closure, with behavior targeted to adjust only to the school closure, is unlikely to provide substantial delay or sufficient net benefits to justify closing schools for pathogen control.

7.
Epidemiologia ; 2(4):639-659, 2021.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-1580905

ABSTRACT

Nepal was hard hit by a second wave of COVID-19 from April–May 2021. We investigated the transmission dynamics of COVID-19 at the national and provincial levels by using data on laboratory-confirmed RT-PCR positive cases from the official national situation reports. We performed 8 week-to-week sequential forecasts of 10-days and 20-days at national level using three dynamic phenomenological growth models from 5 March 2021–22 May 2021. We also estimated effective and instantaneous reproduction numbers at national and provincial levels using established methods and evaluated the mobility trends using Google’s mobility data. Our forecast estimates indicated a declining trend of COVID-19 cases in Nepal as of June 2021. Sub-epidemic and Richards models provided reasonable short-term projections of COVID-19 cases based on standard performance metrics. There was a linear pattern in the trajectory of COVID-19 incidence during the first wave (deceleration of growth parameter (p) = 0.41–0.43, reproduction number (Rt) at 1.1 (95% CI: 1.1, 1.2)), and a sub-exponential growth pattern in the second wave (p = 0.61 (95% CI: 0.58, 0.64)) and Rt at 1.3 (95% CI: 1.3, 1.3)). Across provinces, Rt ranged from 1.2 to 1.5 during the early growth phase of the second wave. The instantaneous Rt fluctuated around 1.0 since January 2021 indicating well sustained transmission. The peak in mobility across different areas coincided with an increasing incidence trend of COVID-19. In conclusion, we found that the sub-epidemic and Richards models yielded reasonable short-terms projections of the COVID-19 trajectory in Nepal, which are useful for healthcare utilization planning.

8.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-294757

ABSTRACT

The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 was first detected in China in December 2019 and has rapidly spread around the globe. The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic in March 2020 just three months after the introduction of the virus. Individual nations have implemented and enforced a variety of social distancing interventions to slow the virus spread, that had different degrees of success. Understanding the role of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) on COVID-19 transmission in different settings is highly important. While most such studies have focused on China, neighboring Asian counties, Western Europe, and North America, there is a scarcity of studies for Eastern Europe. The aim of this study is to contribute to filling this gap by analyzing the characteristics of the first months of the epidemic in Ukraine using agent-based modelling and phylodynamics. Specifically, first we studied the dynamics of COVID-19 incidence and mortality and explored the impact of epidemic NPIs. Our stochastic model suggests, that even a small delay of weeks could have increased the number of cases by up to 50%, with the potential to overwhelm hospital systems. Second, the genomic data analysis suggests that there have been multiple introductions of SARS-CoV-2 into Ukraine during the early stages of the epidemic. Our findings support the conclusion that the implemented travel restrictions may have had limited impact on the epidemic spread. Third, the basic reproduction number for the epidemic that has been estimated independently from case counts data and from genomic data suggest sustained intra-country transmissions.

9.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-294563

ABSTRACT

Introduction We aimed to examine how public health policies influenced the dynamics of COVID-19 time-varying reproductive number ( R t ) in South Carolina from February 26, 2020 to January 1, 2021. Methods COVID-19 case series (March 6, 2020 - January 10, 2021) were shifted by 9 days to approximate the infection date. We analyzed the effects of state and county policies on R t using EpiEstim. We performed linear regression to evaluate if per-capita cumulative case count varies across counties with different population size. Results R t shifted from 2-3 in March to <1 during April and May. R t rose over the summer and stayed between 1.4 and 0.7. The introduction of statewide mask mandates was associated with a decline in R t (−15.3%;95% CrI, -13.6%, -16.8%), and school re-opening, an increase by 12.3% (95% CrI, 10.1%, 14.4%). Less densely populated counties had higher attack rate (p<0.0001). Conclusion The R t dynamics over time indicated that public health interventions substantially slowed COVID-19 transmission in South Carolina, while their relaxation may have promoted further transmission. Policies encouraging people to stay home, such as closing non-essential businesses, were associated with R t reduction, while policies that encouraged more movement, such as re-opening schools, were associated with R t increase.

10.
Int J Infect Dis ; 113: 347-354, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1525812

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: This study examined how socio-demographic, climate and population health characteristics shaped the geospatial variability in excess mortality patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico. METHODS: We used Serfling regression models to estimate all-cause excess mortality rates for all 32 Mexican states. The association between socio-demographic, climate, health indicators and excess mortality rates were determined using multiple linear regression analyses. Functional data analysis characterized clusters of states with distinct excess mortality growth rate curves. RESULTS: The overall all-cause excess deaths rate during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico until April 10, 2021 was estimated at 39.66 per 10 000 population. The lowest excess death rates were observed in southeastern states including Chiapas (12.72) and Oaxaca (13.42), whereas Mexico City had the highest rate (106.17), followed by Tlaxcala (51.99). We found a positive association of excess mortality rates with aging index, marginalization index, and average household size (P < 0.001) in the final adjusted model (Model R2=77%). We identified four distinct clusters with qualitatively similar excess mortality curves. CONCLUSION: Central states exhibited the highest excess mortality rates, whereas the distribution of aging index, marginalization index, and average household size explained the variability in excess mortality rates across Mexico.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Population Health , Demography , Humans , Mexico/epidemiology , Mortality , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
11.
Infect Genet Evol ; 95: 105087, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1442480

ABSTRACT

The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 was first detected in China in December 2019 and has rapidly spread around the globe. The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic in March 2020 just three months after the introduction of the virus. Individual nations have implemented and enforced a variety of social distancing interventions to slow the virus spread, that had different degrees of success. Understanding the role of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) on COVID-19 transmission in different settings is highly important. While most such studies have focused on China, neighboring Asian counties, Western Europe, and North America, there is a scarcity of studies for Eastern Europe. The aim of this epidemiological study is to fill this gap by analyzing the characteristics of the first months of the epidemic in Ukraine using agent-based modelling and phylodynamics. Specifically, first we studied the dynamics of COVID-19 incidence and mortality and explored the impact of epidemic NPIs. Our stochastic model suggests, that even a small delay of weeks could have increased the number of cases by up to 50%, with the potential to overwhelm hospital systems. Second, the genomic data analysis suggests that there have been multiple introductions of SARS-CoV-2 into Ukraine during the early stages of the epidemic. Our findings support the conclusion that the implemented travel restrictions may have had limited impact on the epidemic spread. Third, the basic reproduction number for the epidemic that has been estimated independently from case counts data and from genomic data suggest sustained intra-country transmissions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Genome, Viral , Models, Statistical , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , COVID-19/virology , China/epidemiology , Epidemiological Monitoring , Europe/epidemiology , Humans , Incidence , North America/epidemiology , Phylogeny , Physical Distancing , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Travel/statistics & numerical data , Ukraine/epidemiology
12.
Epidemiologia ; 2(3):315-324, 2021.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-1341667

ABSTRACT

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread worldwide, an unprecedented amount of open data is being generated for medical, genetics, and epidemiological research. The unparalleled rate at which many research groups around the world are releasing data and publications on the ongoing pandemic is allowing other scientists to learn from local experiences and data generated on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there is a need to integrate additional data sources that map and measure the role of social dynamics of such a unique worldwide event in biomedical, biological, and epidemiological analyses. For this purpose, we present a large-scale curated dataset of over 1.12 billion tweets, growing daily, related to COVID-19 chatter generated from 1 January 2020 to 27 June 2021 at the time of writing. This data source provides a freely available additional data source for researchers worldwide to conduct a wide and diverse number of research projects, such as epidemiological analyses, emotional and mental responses to social distancing measures, the identification of sources of misinformation, stratified measurement of sentiment towards the pandemic in near real time, among many others.

13.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 15482, 2021 07 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1333991

ABSTRACT

To ensure the safe operation of schools, workplaces, nursing homes, and other businesses during COVID-19 pandemic there is an urgent need to develop cost-effective public health strategies. Here we focus on the cruise industry which was hit early by the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 40 cruise ships reporting COVID-19 infections. We apply mathematical modeling to assess the impact of testing strategies together with social distancing protocols on the spread of the novel coronavirus during ocean cruises using an individual-level stochastic model of the transmission dynamics of COVID-19. We model the contact network, the potential importation of cases arising during shore excursions, the temporal course of infectivity at the individual level, the effects of social distancing strategies, different testing scenarios characterized by the test's sensitivity profile, and testing frequency. Our findings indicate that PCR testing at embarkation and daily testing of all individuals aboard, together with increased social distancing and other public health measures, should allow for rapid detection and isolation of COVID-19 infections and dramatically reducing the probability of onboard COVID-19 community spread. In contrast, relying only on PCR testing at embarkation would not be sufficient to avert outbreaks, even when implementing substantial levels of social distancing measures.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Contact Tracing/methods , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , Humans , Models, Theoretical , Oceans and Seas , Pandemics/prevention & control , Physical Distancing , Public Health , Public Health Practice , Quarantine , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Ships
14.
PLoS One ; 16(7): e0254826, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1319519

ABSTRACT

Mexico has experienced one of the highest COVID-19 mortality rates in the world. A delayed implementation of social distancing interventions in late March 2020 and a phased reopening of the country in June 2020 has facilitated sustained disease transmission in the region. In this study we systematically generate and compare 30-day ahead forecasts using previously validated growth models based on mortality trends from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation for Mexico and Mexico City in near real-time. Moreover, we estimate reproduction numbers for SARS-CoV-2 based on the methods that rely on genomic data as well as case incidence data. Subsequently, functional data analysis techniques are utilized to analyze the shapes of COVID-19 growth rate curves at the state level to characterize the spatiotemporal transmission patterns of SARS-CoV-2. The early estimates of the reproduction number for Mexico were estimated between Rt ~1.1-1.3 from the genomic and case incidence data. Moreover, the mean estimate of Rt has fluctuated around ~1.0 from late July till end of September 2020. The spatial analysis characterizes the state-level dynamics of COVID-19 into four groups with distinct epidemic trajectories based on epidemic growth rates. Our results show that the sequential mortality forecasts from the GLM and Richards model predict a downward trend in the number of deaths for all thirteen forecast periods for Mexico and Mexico City. However, the sub-epidemic and IHME models perform better predicting a more realistic stable trajectory of COVID-19 mortality trends for the last three forecast periods (09/21-10/21, 09/28-10/27, 09/28-10/27) for Mexico and Mexico City. Our findings indicate that phenomenological models are useful tools for short-term epidemic forecasting albeit forecasts need to be interpreted with caution given the dynamic implementation and lifting of social distancing measures.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Forecasting , Pandemics/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Mexico/epidemiology , Models, Statistical , Socioeconomic Factors
15.
Nat Hum Behav ; 5(7): 834-846, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1286458

ABSTRACT

Social and behavioural factors are critical to the emergence, spread and containment of human disease, and are key determinants of the course, duration and outcomes of disease outbreaks. Recent epidemics of Ebola in West Africa and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) globally have reinforced the importance of developing infectious disease models that better integrate social and behavioural dynamics and theories. Meanwhile, the growth in capacity, coordination and prioritization of social science research and of risk communication and community engagement (RCCE) practice within the current pandemic response provides an opportunity for collaboration among epidemiological modellers, social scientists and RCCE practitioners towards a mutually beneficial research and practice agenda. Here, we provide a review of the current modelling methodologies and describe the challenges and opportunities for integrating them with social science research and RCCE practice. Finally, we set out an agenda for advancing transdisciplinary collaboration for integrated disease modelling and for more robust policy and practice for reducing disease transmission.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Health Behavior , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola/epidemiology , Primary Prevention/organization & administration , COVID-19/prevention & control , Developing Countries , Health Policy , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola/prevention & control , Humans
16.
Epidemiologia ; 2(2):207-226, 2021.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-1259455

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed an unprecedented burden on public health and strained the worldwide economy. The rapid spread of COVID-19 has been predominantly driven by aerosol transmission, and scientific research supports the use of face masks to reduce transmission. However, a systematic and quantitative understanding of how face masks reduce disease transmission is still lacking. We used epidemic data from the Diamond Princess cruise ship to calibrate a transmission model in a high-risk setting and derive the reproductive number for the model. We explain how the terms in the reproductive number reflect the contributions of the different infectious states to the spread of the infection. We used that model to compare the infection spread within a homogeneously mixed population for different types of masks, the timing of mask policy, and compliance of wearing masks. Our results suggest substantial reductions in epidemic size and mortality rate provided by at least 75% of people wearing masks (robust for different mask types). We also evaluated the timing of the mask implementation. We illustrate how ample compliance with moderate-quality masks at the start of an epidemic attained similar mortality reductions to less compliance and the use of high-quality masks after the epidemic took off. We observed that a critical mass of 84% of the population wearing masks can completely stop the spread of the disease. These results highlight the significance of a large fraction of the population needing to wear face masks to effectively reduce the spread of the epidemic. The simulations show that early implementation of mask policy using moderate-quality masks is more effective than a later implementation with high-quality masks. These findings may inform public health mask-use policies for an infectious respiratory disease outbreak (such as one of COVID-19) in high-risk settings.

17.
Epidemiologia ; 2(2):179-197, 2021.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-1259453

ABSTRACT

This study quantifies the transmission potential of SARS-CoV-2 across public health districts in Georgia, USA, and tests if per capita cumulative case count varies across counties. To estimate the time-varying reproduction number, Rt of SARS-CoV-2 in Georgia and its 18 public health districts, we apply the R package ‘EpiEstim’ to the time series of historical daily incidence of confirmed cases, 2 March–15 December 2020. The epidemic curve is shifted backward by nine days to account for the incubation period and delay to testing. Linear regression is performed between log10-transformed per capita cumulative case count and log10-transformed population size. We observe Rt fluctuations as state and countywide policies are implemented. Policy changes are associated with increases or decreases at different time points. Rt increases, following the reopening of schools for in-person instruction in August. Evidence suggests that counties with lower population size had a higher per capita cumulative case count on June 15 (slope = −0.10, p = 0.04) and October 15 (slope = −0.05, p = 0.03), but not on August 15 (slope = −0.04, p = 0.09), nor December 15 (slope = −0.02, p = 0.41). We found extensive community transmission of SARS-CoV-2 across all 18 health districts in Georgia with median 7-day-sliding window Rt estimates between 1 and 1.4 after March 2020.

18.
Perm J ; 252021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1222295

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In 2020, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 impacted Georgia, USA. Georgia announced a state-wide shelter-in-place on April 2 and partially lifted restrictions on April 27. We estimated the time-varying reproduction numbers (Rt) of COVID-19 in Georgia, Metro Atlanta, and Dougherty County and environs from March 2, 2020, to November 20, 2020. METHODS: We analyzed the daily incidence of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia, Metro Atlanta, and Dougherty County and its surrounding counties, and estimated Rt using the R package EpiEstim. We used a 9-day correction for the date of report to analyze the data by assumed date of infection. RESULTS: The median Rt estimate in Georgia dropped from between 2 and 4 in mid-March to < 2 in late March to around 1 from mid-April to November. Regarding Metro Atlanta, Rt fluctuated above 1.5 in March and around 1 since April. In Dougherty County, the median Rt declined from around 2 in late March to 0.32 on April 26. Then, Rt fluctuated around 1 in May through November. Counties surrounding Dougherty County registered an increase in Rt estimates days after a superspreading event occurred in the area. CONCLUSIONS: In Spring 2020, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 transmission in Georgia declined likely because of social distancing measures. However, because restrictions were relaxed in late April and elections were conducted in November, community transmission continued, with Rt fluctuating around 1 across Georgia, Metro Atlanta, and Dougherty County as of November 2020. The superspreading event in Dougherty County affected surrounding areas, indicating the possibility of local transmission in neighboring counties.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Georgia/epidemiology , Humans , Incidence , SARS-CoV-2 , Time
19.
BMC Infect Dis ; 21(1): 432, 2021 May 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1219140

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Low testing rates and delays in reporting hinder the estimation of the mortality burden associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. During a public health emergency, estimating all cause excess deaths above an expected level of death can provide a more reliable picture of the mortality burden. Here, we aim to estimate the absolute and relative mortality impact of COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico. METHODS: We obtained weekly mortality time series due to all causes for Mexico, and by gender, and geographic region from 2015 to 2020. We also compiled surveillance data on COVID-19 cases and deaths to assess the timing and intensity of the pandemic and assembled weekly series of the proportion of tweets about 'death' from Mexico to assess the correlation between people's media interaction about 'death' and the rise in pandemic deaths. We estimated all-cause excess mortality rates and mortality rate ratio increase over baseline by fitting Serfling regression models and forecasted the total excess deaths for Mexico for the first 4 weeks of 2021 using the generalized logistic growth model. RESULTS: We estimated the all-cause excess mortality rate associated with the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico in 2020 at 26.10 per 10,000 population, which corresponds to 333,538 excess deaths. Males had about 2-fold higher excess mortality rate (33.99) compared to females (18.53). Mexico City reported the highest excess death rate (63.54) and RR (2.09) compared to rest of the country (excess rate = 23.25, RR = 1.62). While COVID-19 deaths accounted for only 38.64% of total excess deaths in Mexico, our forecast estimate that Mexico has accumulated a total of ~ 61,610 [95% PI: 60,003, 63,216] excess deaths in the first 4 weeks of 2021. Proportion of tweets was significantly correlated with the excess mortality (ρ = 0.508 [95% CI: 0.245, 0.701], p-value = 0.0004). CONCLUSION: The COVID-19 pandemic has heavily affected Mexico. The lab-confirmed COVID-19 deaths accounted for only 38.64% of total all cause excess deaths (333,538) in Mexico in 2020. This reflects either the effect of low testing rates in Mexico, or the surge in number of deaths due to other causes during the pandemic. A model-based forecast indicates that an average of 61,610 excess deaths have occurred in January 2021.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cities/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Male , Mexico/epidemiology , Social Media
20.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(16)2021 04 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1165019

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 vaccines have been authorized in multiple countries, and more are under rapid development. Careful design of a vaccine prioritization strategy across sociodemographic groups is a crucial public policy challenge given that 1) vaccine supply will be constrained for the first several months of the vaccination campaign, 2) there are stark differences in transmission and severity of impacts from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) across groups, and 3) SARS-CoV-2 differs markedly from previous pandemic viruses. We assess the optimal allocation of a limited vaccine supply in the United States across groups differentiated by age and essential worker status, which constrains opportunities for social distancing. We model transmission dynamics using a compartmental model parameterized to capture current understanding of the epidemiological characteristics of COVID-19, including key sources of group heterogeneity (susceptibility, severity, and contact rates). We investigate three alternative policy objectives (minimizing infections, years of life lost, or deaths) and model a dynamic strategy that evolves with the population epidemiological status. We find that this temporal flexibility contributes substantially to public health goals. Older essential workers are typically targeted first. However, depending on the objective, younger essential workers are prioritized to control spread or seniors to directly control mortality. When the objective is minimizing deaths, relative to an untargeted approach, prioritization averts deaths on a range between 20,000 (when nonpharmaceutical interventions are strong) and 300,000 (when these interventions are weak). We illustrate how optimal prioritization is sensitive to several factors, most notably, vaccine effectiveness and supply, rate of transmission, and the magnitude of initial infections.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Health Personnel , Physical Distancing , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Middle Aged , Models, Immunological , Vaccination
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