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1.
Lancet Psychiatry ; 8(7): 579-588, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1683800

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic is having profound mental health consequences for many people. Concerns have been expressed that, at their most extreme, these consequences could manifest as increased suicide rates. We aimed to assess the early effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on suicide rates around the world. METHODS: We sourced real-time suicide data from countries or areas within countries through a systematic internet search and recourse to our networks and the published literature. Between Sept 1 and Nov 1, 2020, we searched the official websites of these countries' ministries of health, police agencies, and government-run statistics agencies or equivalents, using the translated search terms "suicide" and "cause of death", before broadening the search in an attempt to identify data through other public sources. Data were included from a given country or area if they came from an official government source and were available at a monthly level from at least Jan 1, 2019, to July 31, 2020. Our internet searches were restricted to countries with more than 3 million residents for pragmatic reasons, but we relaxed this rule for countries identified through the literature and our networks. Areas within countries could also be included with populations of less than 3 million. We used an interrupted time-series analysis to model the trend in monthly suicides before COVID-19 (from at least Jan 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020) in each country or area within a country, comparing the expected number of suicides derived from the model with the observed number of suicides in the early months of the pandemic (from April 1 to July 31, 2020, in the primary analysis). FINDINGS: We sourced data from 21 countries (16 high-income and five upper-middle-income countries), including whole-country data in ten countries and data for various areas in 11 countries). Rate ratios (RRs) and 95% CIs based on the observed versus expected numbers of suicides showed no evidence of a significant increase in risk of suicide since the pandemic began in any country or area. There was statistical evidence of a decrease in suicide compared with the expected number in 12 countries or areas: New South Wales, Australia (RR 0·81 [95% CI 0·72-0·91]); Alberta, Canada (0·80 [0·68-0·93]); British Columbia, Canada (0·76 [0·66-0·87]); Chile (0·85 [0·78-0·94]); Leipzig, Germany (0·49 [0·32-0·74]); Japan (0·94 [0·91-0·96]); New Zealand (0·79 [0·68-0·91]); South Korea (0·94 [0·92-0·97]); California, USA (0·90 [0·85-0·95]); Illinois (Cook County), USA (0·79 [0·67-0·93]); Texas (four counties), USA (0·82 [0·68-0·98]); and Ecuador (0·74 [0·67-0·82]). INTERPRETATION: This is the first study to examine suicides occurring in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in multiple countries. In high-income and upper-middle-income countries, suicide numbers have remained largely unchanged or declined in the early months of the pandemic compared with the expected levels based on the pre-pandemic period. We need to remain vigilant and be poised to respond if the situation changes as the longer-term mental health and economic effects of the pandemic unfold. FUNDING: None.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , Global Health , Models, Statistical , Suicide/statistics & numerical data , Developed Countries/statistics & numerical data , Humans
3.
Geohealth ; 5(9): e2021GH000450, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1467050

ABSTRACT

Previous research has noted that many factors greatly influence the spread of COVID-19. Contrary to explicit factors that are measurable, such as population density, number of medical staff, and the daily test rate, many factors are not directly observable, for instance, culture differences and attitudes toward the disease, which may introduce unobserved heterogeneity. Most contemporary COVID-19 related research has focused on modeling the relationship between explicitly measurable factors and the response variable of interest (such as the infection rate or the death rate). The infection rate is a commonly used metric for evaluating disease progression and a state's mitigation efforts. Because unobservable sources of heterogeneity cannot be measured directly, it is hard to incorporate them into the quantitative assessment and decision-making process. In this study, we propose new metrics to study a state's performance by adjusting the measurable county-level covariates and unobservable state-level heterogeneity through random effects. A hierarchical linear model (HLM) is postulated, and we calculate two model-based metrics-the standardized infection ratio (SDIR) and the adjusted infection rate (AIR). This analysis highlights certain time periods when the infection rate for a state was high while their SDIR was low and vice versa. We show that trends in these metrics can give insight into certain aspects of a state's performance. As each state continues to develop their individualized COVID-19 mitigation strategy and ultimately works to improve their performance, the SDIR and AIR may help supplement the crude infection rate metric to provide a more thorough understanding of a state's performance.

4.
Geohealth ; 5(9): e2021GH000450, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1373355

ABSTRACT

Previous research has noted that many factors greatly influence the spread of COVID-19. Contrary to explicit factors that are measurable, such as population density, number of medical staff, and the daily test rate, many factors are not directly observable, for instance, culture differences and attitudes toward the disease, which may introduce unobserved heterogeneity. Most contemporary COVID-19 related research has focused on modeling the relationship between explicitly measurable factors and the response variable of interest (such as the infection rate or the death rate). The infection rate is a commonly used metric for evaluating disease progression and a state's mitigation efforts. Because unobservable sources of heterogeneity cannot be measured directly, it is hard to incorporate them into the quantitative assessment and decision-making process. In this study, we propose new metrics to study a state's performance by adjusting the measurable county-level covariates and unobservable state-level heterogeneity through random effects. A hierarchical linear model (HLM) is postulated, and we calculate two model-based metrics-the standardized infection ratio (SDIR) and the adjusted infection rate (AIR). This analysis highlights certain time periods when the infection rate for a state was high while their SDIR was low and vice versa. We show that trends in these metrics can give insight into certain aspects of a state's performance. As each state continues to develop their individualized COVID-19 mitigation strategy and ultimately works to improve their performance, the SDIR and AIR may help supplement the crude infection rate metric to provide a more thorough understanding of a state's performance.

5.
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep ; 70(33): 1114-1119, 2021 Aug 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1365865

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected Hispanic or Latino, non-Hispanic Black (Black), non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN), and non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (NH/PI) populations in the United States. These populations have experienced higher rates of infection and mortality compared with the non-Hispanic White (White) population (1-5) and greater excess mortality (i.e., the percentage increase in the number of persons who have died relative to the expected number of deaths for a given place and time) (6). A limitation of existing research on excess mortality among racial/ethnic minority groups has been the lack of adjustment for age and population change over time. This study assessed excess mortality incidence rates (IRs) (e.g., the number of excess deaths per 100,000 person-years) in the United States during December 29, 2019-January 2, 2021, by race/ethnicity and age group using data from the National Vital Statistics System. Among all assessed racial/ethnic groups (non-Hispanic Asian [Asian], AI/AN, Black, Hispanic, NH/PI, and White populations), excess mortality IRs were higher among persons aged ≥65 years (426.4 to 1033.5 excess deaths per 100,000 person-years) than among those aged 25-64 years (30.2 to 221.1) and those aged <25 years (-2.9 to 14.1). Among persons aged <65 years, Black and AI/AN populations had the highest excess mortality IRs. Among adults aged ≥65 years, Black and Hispanic persons experienced the highest excess mortality IRs of >1,000 excess deaths per 100,000 person-years. These findings could help guide more tailored public health messaging and mitigation efforts to reduce disparities in mortality associated with the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States,* by identifying the racial/ethnic groups and age groups with the highest excess mortality rates.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , Health Status Disparities , Mortality/trends , Adult , Age Distribution , Aged , COVID-19/ethnology , Humans , Middle Aged , United States/epidemiology , Young Adult
7.
Lancet Psychiatry ; 8(7): 579-588, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1284642

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic is having profound mental health consequences for many people. Concerns have been expressed that, at their most extreme, these consequences could manifest as increased suicide rates. We aimed to assess the early effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on suicide rates around the world. METHODS: We sourced real-time suicide data from countries or areas within countries through a systematic internet search and recourse to our networks and the published literature. Between Sept 1 and Nov 1, 2020, we searched the official websites of these countries' ministries of health, police agencies, and government-run statistics agencies or equivalents, using the translated search terms "suicide" and "cause of death", before broadening the search in an attempt to identify data through other public sources. Data were included from a given country or area if they came from an official government source and were available at a monthly level from at least Jan 1, 2019, to July 31, 2020. Our internet searches were restricted to countries with more than 3 million residents for pragmatic reasons, but we relaxed this rule for countries identified through the literature and our networks. Areas within countries could also be included with populations of less than 3 million. We used an interrupted time-series analysis to model the trend in monthly suicides before COVID-19 (from at least Jan 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020) in each country or area within a country, comparing the expected number of suicides derived from the model with the observed number of suicides in the early months of the pandemic (from April 1 to July 31, 2020, in the primary analysis). FINDINGS: We sourced data from 21 countries (16 high-income and five upper-middle-income countries), including whole-country data in ten countries and data for various areas in 11 countries). Rate ratios (RRs) and 95% CIs based on the observed versus expected numbers of suicides showed no evidence of a significant increase in risk of suicide since the pandemic began in any country or area. There was statistical evidence of a decrease in suicide compared with the expected number in 12 countries or areas: New South Wales, Australia (RR 0·81 [95% CI 0·72-0·91]); Alberta, Canada (0·80 [0·68-0·93]); British Columbia, Canada (0·76 [0·66-0·87]); Chile (0·85 [0·78-0·94]); Leipzig, Germany (0·49 [0·32-0·74]); Japan (0·94 [0·91-0·96]); New Zealand (0·79 [0·68-0·91]); South Korea (0·94 [0·92-0·97]); California, USA (0·90 [0·85-0·95]); Illinois (Cook County), USA (0·79 [0·67-0·93]); Texas (four counties), USA (0·82 [0·68-0·98]); and Ecuador (0·74 [0·67-0·82]). INTERPRETATION: This is the first study to examine suicides occurring in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in multiple countries. In high-income and upper-middle-income countries, suicide numbers have remained largely unchanged or declined in the early months of the pandemic compared with the expected levels based on the pre-pandemic period. We need to remain vigilant and be poised to respond if the situation changes as the longer-term mental health and economic effects of the pandemic unfold. FUNDING: None.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , Global Health , Models, Statistical , Suicide/statistics & numerical data , Developed Countries/statistics & numerical data , Humans
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