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PLoS One ; 16(10): e0258308, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1468168


The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is causing significant morbidity and mortality across the US. In this ecological study, we identified county-level variables associated with the COVID-19 case-fatality rate (CFR) using publicly available datasets and a negative binomial generalized linear model. Variables associated with decreased CFR included a greater number of hospitals per 10,000 people, banning religious gatherings, a higher percentage of people living in mobile homes, and a higher percentage of uninsured people. Variables associated with increased CFR included a higher percentage of the population over age 65, a higher percentage of Black or African Americans, a higher asthma prevalence, and a greater number of hospitals in a county. By identifying factors that are associated with COVID-19 CFR in US counties, we hope to help officials target public health interventions and healthcare resources to locations that are at increased risk of COVID-19 fatalities.

COVID-19/mortality , Age Factors , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Models, Theoretical , Pandemics , Prognosis , Risk Factors , United States/epidemiology
JMIR Form Res ; 5(2): e26190, 2021 Feb 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1073234


BACKGROUND: The novel COVID-19 disease has negatively impacted mortality, economic conditions, and mental health. These impacts are likely to continue after the COVID-19 pandemic ends. There are no methods for characterizing the mental health burden of the COVID-19 pandemic, and differentiating this burden from that of the prepandemic era. Accurate illness detection methods are critical for facilitating pandemic-related treatment and preventing the worsening of symptoms. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to identify major themes and symptom clusters in the SMS text messages that patients send to therapists. We assessed patients who were seeking treatment for pandemic-related distress on Talkspace, which is a popular telemental health platform. METHODS: We used a machine learning algorithm to identify patients' pandemic-related concerns, based on their SMS text messages in a large, digital mental health service platform (ie, Talkspace). This platform uses natural language processing methods to analyze unstructured therapy transcript data, in parallel with brief clinical assessment methods for analyzing depression and anxiety symptoms. RESULTS: Our results show a significant increase in the incidence of COVID-19-related intake anxiety symptoms (P<.001), but no significant differences in the incidence of intake depression symptoms (P=.79). During our transcript analyses, we identified terms that were related to 24 symptoms outside of those included in the diagnostic criteria for anxiety and depression. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings for Talkspace suggest that people who seek treatment during the pandemic experience more severe intake anxiety than they did before the COVID-19 outbreak. It is important to monitor the symptoms that we identified in this study and the symptoms of anxiety and depression, to fully understand the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 117(41): 25904-25910, 2020 10 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-796194


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, formulating targeted policy interventions that are informed by differential severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission dynamics will be of vital importance to national and regional governments. We develop an individual-level model for SARS-CoV-2 transmission that accounts for location-dependent distributions of age, household structure, and comorbidities. We use these distributions together with age-stratified contact matrices to instantiate specific models for Hubei, China; Lombardy, Italy; and New York City, United States. Using data on reported deaths to obtain a posterior distribution over unknown parameters, we infer differences in the progression of the epidemic in the three locations. We also examine the role of transmission due to particular age groups on total infections and deaths. The effect of limiting contacts by a particular age group varies by location, indicating that strategies to reduce transmission should be tailored based on population-specific demography and social structure. These findings highlight the role of between-population variation in formulating policy interventions. Across the three populations, though, we find that targeted "salutary sheltering" by 50% of a single age group may substantially curtail transmission when combined with the adoption of physical distancing measures by the rest of the population.

Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Models, Statistical , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Betacoronavirus/physiology , COVID-19 , China/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control/legislation & jurisprudence , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , New York City/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , SARS-CoV-2