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1.
The Lancet regional health. Europe ; 14:100295-100295, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1615360

ABSTRACT

Background Residents in care homes have been severely impacted by COVID-19. We describe trends in the mortality risk among residents of care homes compared to private homes. Methods On behalf of NHS England we used OpenSAFELY-TPP to calculate monthly age-standardised risks of death due to all causes and COVID-19 among adults aged >=65 years between 1/2/2019 and 31/03/2021. Care home residents were identified using linkage to Care and Quality Commission data. Findings We included 4,340,648 people aged 65 years or older on the 1st of February 2019, 2.2% of whom were classified as residing in a care or nursing home. Age-standardised mortality risks were approximately 10 times higher among care home residents compared to those in private housing in February 2019: comparative mortality figure (CMF) = 10.59 (95%CI = 9.51, 11.81) among women, and 10.87 (9.93, 11.90) among men. By April 2020 these relative differences had increased to more than 17 times with CMFs of 17.57 (16.43, 18.79) among women and 18.17 (17.22, 19.17) among men. CMFs did not increase during the second wave, despite a rise in the absolute age-standardised COVID-19 mortality risks. Interpretation COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on the mortality of care home residents in England compared to older residents of private homes, but only in the first wave. This may be explained by a degree of acquired immunity, improved protective measures or changes in the underlying frailty of the populations. The care home population should be prioritised for measures aimed at controlling COVID-19. Funding Medical Research Council MR/V015737/1

2.
Br J Gen Pract ; 2021 Sep 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1592598

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted healthcare activity. The NHS stopped non-urgent work in March 2020, later recommending services be restored to near-normal levels before winter where possible. AIM: To describe the volume and variation of coded clinical activity in general practice, taking respiratory disease and laboratory procedures as examples. DESIGN AND SETTING: Working on behalf of NHS England, a cohort study was conducted of 23.8 million patient records in general practice, in situ using OpenSAFELY. METHOD: Activity using Clinical Terms Version 3 codes and keyword searches from January 2019 to September 2020 are described. RESULTS: Activity recorded in general practice declined during the pandemic, but largely recovered by September. There was a large drop in coded activity for laboratory tests, with broad recovery to pre-pandemic levels by September. One exception was the international normalised ratio test, with a smaller reduction (median tests per 1000 patients in 2020: February 8.0; April 6.2; September 6.9). The pattern of recording for respiratory symptoms was less affected, following an expected seasonal pattern and classified as 'no change'. Respiratory infections exhibited a sustained drop, not returning to pre-pandemic levels by September. Asthma reviews experienced a small drop but recovered, whereas chronic obstructive pulmonary disease reviews remained below baseline. CONCLUSION: An open-source software framework was delivered to describe trends and variation in clinical activity across an unprecedented scale of primary care data. The COVD-19 pandemic led to a substantial change in healthcare activity. Most laboratory tests showed substantial reduction, largely recovering to near-normal levels by September, with some important tests less affected and recording of respiratory disease codes was mixed.

3.
Br J Gen Pract ; 2021 Sep 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1592597

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: On 8 December 2020 NHS England administered the first COVID-19 vaccination. AIM: To describe trends and variation in vaccine coverage in different clinical and demographic groups in the first 100 days of the vaccine rollout. DESIGN AND SETTING: With the approval of NHS England, a cohort study was conducted of 57.9 million patient records in general practice in England, in situ and within the infrastructure of the electronic health record software vendors EMIS and TPP using OpenSAFELY. METHOD: Vaccine coverage across various subgroups of Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) priority cohorts is described. RESULTS: A total of 20 852 692 patients (36.0%) received a vaccine between 8 December 2020 and 17 March 2021. Of patients aged ≥80 years not in a care home (JCVI group 2) 94.7% received a vaccine, but with substantial variation by ethnicity (White 96.2%, Black 68.3%) and deprivation (least deprived 96.6%, most deprived 90.7%). Patients with pre-existing medical conditions were more likely to be vaccinated with two exceptions: severe mental illness (89.5%) and learning disability (91.4%). There were 275 205 vaccine recipients who were identified as care home residents (JCVI group 1; 91.2% coverage). By 17 March, 1 257 914 (6.0%) recipients had a second dose. CONCLUSION: The NHS rapidly delivered mass vaccination. In this study a data-monitoring framework was deployed using publicly auditable methods and a secure in situ processing model, using linked but pseudonymised patient-level NHS data for 57.9 million patients. Targeted activity may be needed to address lower vaccination coverage observed among certain key groups.

4.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(49)2021 12 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1556254

ABSTRACT

We hypothesized that cross-protection from seasonal epidemics of human coronaviruses (HCoVs) could have affected severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission, including generating reduced susceptibility in children. To determine what the prepandemic distribution of immunity to HCoVs was, we fitted a mathematical model to 6 y of seasonal coronavirus surveillance data from England and Wales. We estimated a duration of immunity to seasonal HCoVs of 7.8 y (95% CI 6.3 to 8.1) and show that, while cross-protection between HCoV and SARS-CoV-2 may contribute to the age distribution, it is insufficient to explain the age pattern of SARS-CoV-2 infections in the first wave of the pandemic in England and Wales. Projections from our model illustrate how different strengths of cross-protection between circulating coronaviruses could determine the frequency and magnitude of SARS-CoV-2 epidemics over the coming decade, as well as the potential impact of cross-protection on future seasonal coronavirus transmission.

5.
Front Public Health ; 9: 745630, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1551554

ABSTRACT

Background: Approval for the use of COVID-19 vaccines has been granted in a number of countries but there are concerns that vaccine uptake may be low amongst certain groups. Methods: This study used a mixed methods approach based on online survey and an embedded quantitative/qualitative design to explore perceptions and attitudes that were associated with intention to either accept or refuse offers of vaccination in different demographic groups during the early stages of the UK's mass COVID-19 vaccination programme (December 2020). Analysis used multivariate logistic regression, structural text modeling and anthropological assessments. Results: Of 4,535 respondents, 85% (n = 3,859) were willing to have a COVID-19 vaccine. The rapidity of vaccine development and uncertainties about safety were common reasons for COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. There was no evidence for the widespread influence of mis-information, although broader vaccine hesitancy was associated with intentions to refuse COVID-19 vaccines (OR 20.60, 95% CI 14.20-30.30, p < 0.001). Low levels of trust in the decision-making (OR 1.63, 95% CI 1.08, 2.48, p = 0.021) and truthfulness (OR 8.76, 95% CI 4.15-19.90, p < 0.001) of the UK government were independently associated with higher odds of refusing COVID-19 vaccines. Compared to political centrists, conservatives and liberals were, respectively, more (OR 2.05, 95%CI 1.51-2.80, p < 0.001) and less (OR 0.30, 95% CI 0.22-0.41, p < 0.001) likely to refuse offered vaccines. Those who were willing to be vaccinated cited both personal and public protection as reasons, with some alluding to having a sense of collective responsibility. Conclusion: Dominant narratives of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy are misconceived as primarily being driven by misinformation. Key indicators of UK vaccine acceptance include prior behaviors, transparency of the scientific process of vaccine development, mistrust in science and leadership and individual political views. Vaccine programmes should leverage the sense of altruism, citizenship and collective responsibility that motivated many participants to get vaccinated.

6.
BMC Med ; 19(1): 318, 2021 12 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1546783

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: How best to prioritise COVID-19 vaccination within and between countries has been a public health and an ethical challenge for decision-makers globally. We reviewed epidemiological and economic modelling evidence on population priority groups to minimise COVID-19 mortality, transmission, and morbidity outcomes. METHODS: We searched the National Institute of Health iSearch COVID-19 Portfolio (a database of peer-reviewed and pre-print articles), Econlit, the Centre for Economic Policy Research, and the National Bureau of Economic Research for mathematical modelling studies evaluating the impact of prioritising COVID-19 vaccination to population target groups. The first search was conducted on March 3, 2021, and an updated search on the LMIC literature was conducted from March 3, 2021, to September 24, 2021. We narratively synthesised the main study conclusions on prioritisation and the conditions under which the conclusions changed. RESULTS: The initial search identified 1820 studies and 36 studies met the inclusion criteria. The updated search on LMIC literature identified 7 more studies. 43 studies in total were narratively synthesised. 74% of studies described outcomes in high-income countries (single and multi-country). We found that for countries seeking to minimise deaths, prioritising vaccination of senior adults was the optimal strategy and for countries seeking to minimise cases the young were prioritised. There were several exceptions to the main conclusion, notably that reductions in deaths could be increased if groups at high risk of both transmission and death could be further identified. Findings were also sensitive to the level of vaccine coverage. CONCLUSION: The evidence supports WHO SAGE recommendations on COVID-19 vaccine prioritisation. There is, however, an evidence gap on optimal prioritisation for low- and middle-income countries, studies that included an economic evaluation, and studies that explore prioritisation strategies if the aim is to reduce overall health burden including morbidity.

7.
Open Heart ; 8(2)2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1523054

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Health Service (NHS) recommended that appropriate patients anticoagulated with warfarin should be switched to direct-acting oral anticoagulants (DOACs), requiring less frequent blood testing. Subsequently, a national safety alert was issued regarding patients being inappropriately coprescribed two anticoagulants following a medication change and associated monitoring. OBJECTIVE: To describe which people were switched from warfarin to DOACs; identify potentially unsafe coprescribing of anticoagulants; and assess whether abnormal clotting results have become more frequent during the pandemic. METHODS: With the approval of NHS England, we conducted a cohort study using routine clinical data from 24 million NHS patients in England. RESULTS: 20 000 of 164 000 warfarin patients (12.2%) switched to DOACs between March and May 2020, most commonly to edoxaban and apixaban. Factors associated with switching included: older age, recent renal function test, higher number of recent INR tests recorded, atrial fibrillation diagnosis and care home residency. There was a sharp rise in coprescribing of warfarin and DOACs from typically 50-100 per month to 246 in April 2020, 0.06% of all people receiving a DOAC or warfarin. International normalised ratio (INR) testing fell by 14% to 506.8 patients tested per 1000 warfarin patients each month. We observed a very small increase in elevated INRs (n=470) during April compared with January (n=420). CONCLUSIONS: Increased switching of anticoagulants from warfarin to DOACs was observed at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in England following national guidance. There was a small but substantial number of people coprescribed warfarin and DOACs during this period. Despite a national safety alert on the issue, a widespread rise in elevated INR test results was not found. Primary care has responded rapidly to changes in patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Anticoagulants/administration & dosage , Blood Coagulation/drug effects , COVID-19 , Drug Substitution/standards , Factor Xa Inhibitors/administration & dosage , Practice Guidelines as Topic/standards , Practice Patterns, Physicians'/standards , State Medicine/standards , Warfarin/administration & dosage , Aged , Anticoagulants/adverse effects , Blood Coagulation Tests , Drug Monitoring , Drug Prescriptions , Drug Substitution/adverse effects , Drug Utilization/standards , England , Factor Xa Inhibitors/adverse effects , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Patient Safety , Primary Health Care/standards , Retrospective Studies , Risk Assessment , Risk Factors , Warfarin/adverse effects
8.
Br J Gen Pract ; 2021 Sep 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1505838

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted healthcare activity. The NHS stopped non-urgent work in March 2020, later recommending services be restored to near-normal levels before winter where possible. AIM: To describe the volume and variation of coded clinical activity in general practice, taking respiratory disease and laboratory procedures as examples. DESIGN AND SETTING: Working on behalf of NHS England, a cohort study was conducted of 23.8 million patient records in general practice, in situ using OpenSAFELY. METHOD: Activity using Clinical Terms Version 3 codes and keyword searches from January 2019 to September 2020 are described. RESULTS: Activity recorded in general practice declined during the pandemic, but largely recovered by September. There was a large drop in coded activity for laboratory tests, with broad recovery to pre-pandemic levels by September. One exception was the international normalised ratio test, with a smaller reduction (median tests per 1000 patients in 2020: February 8.0; April 6.2; September 6.9). The pattern of recording for respiratory symptoms was less affected, following an expected seasonal pattern and classified as 'no change'. Respiratory infections exhibited a sustained drop, not returning to pre-pandemic levels by September. Asthma reviews experienced a small drop but recovered, whereas chronic obstructive pulmonary disease reviews remained below baseline. CONCLUSION: An open-source software framework was delivered to describe trends and variation in clinical activity across an unprecedented scale of primary care data. The COVD-19 pandemic led to a substantial change in healthcare activity. Most laboratory tests showed substantial reduction, largely recovering to near-normal levels by September, with some important tests less affected and recording of respiratory disease codes was mixed.

9.
Br J Gen Pract ; 2021 Sep 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1505837

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: On 8 December 2020 NHS England administered the first COVID-19 vaccination. AIM: To describe trends and variation in vaccine coverage in different clinical and demographic groups in the first 100 days of the vaccine rollout. DESIGN AND SETTING: With the approval of NHS England, a cohort study was conducted of 57.9 million patient records in general practice in England, in situ and within the infrastructure of the electronic health record software vendors EMIS and TPP using OpenSAFELY. METHOD: Vaccine coverage across various subgroups of Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) priority cohorts is described. RESULTS: A total of 20 852 692 patients (36.0%) received a vaccine between 8 December 2020 and 17 March 2021. Of patients aged ≥80 years not in a care home (JCVI group 2) 94.7% received a vaccine, but with substantial variation by ethnicity (White 96.2%, Black 68.3%) and deprivation (least deprived 96.6%, most deprived 90.7%). Patients with pre-existing medical conditions were more likely to be vaccinated with two exceptions: severe mental illness (89.5%) and learning disability (91.4%). There were 275 205 vaccine recipients who were identified as care home residents (JCVI group 1; 91.2% coverage). By 17 March, 1 257 914 (6.0%) recipients had a second dose. CONCLUSION: The NHS rapidly delivered mass vaccination. In this study a data-monitoring framework was deployed using publicly auditable methods and a secure in situ processing model, using linked but pseudonymised patient-level NHS data for 57.9 million patients. Targeted activity may be needed to address lower vaccination coverage observed among certain key groups.

10.
J Hematol Oncol ; 14(1): 172, 2021 10 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1477441

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Thromboembolism has been reported as a consequence of severe COVID-19. Although warfarin is a commonly used anticoagulant, it acts by antagonising vitamin K, which is low in patients with severe COVID-19. To date, the clinical evidence on the impact of regular use of warfarin on COVID-19-related thromboembolism is lacking. METHODS: On behalf of NHS England, we conducted a population-based cohort study investigating the association between warfarin and COVID-19 outcomes compared with direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs). We used the OpenSAFELY platform to analyse primary care data and pseudonymously linked SARS-CoV-2 antigen testing data, hospital admissions and death records from England. We used Cox regression to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) for COVID-19-related outcomes comparing warfarin with DOACs in people with non-valvular atrial fibrillation. We also conducted negative control outcome analyses (being tested for SARS-CoV-2 and non-COVID-19 death) to assess the potential impact of confounding. RESULTS: A total of 92,339 warfarin users and 280,407 DOAC users were included. We observed a lower risk of all outcomes associated with warfarin versus DOACs [testing positive for SARS-CoV-2, HR 0.73 (95% CI 0.68-0.79); COVID-19-related hospital admission, HR 0.75 (95% CI 0.68-0.83); COVID-19-related deaths, HR 0.74 (95% CI 0.66-0.83)]. A lower risk of negative control outcomes associated with warfarin versus DOACs was also observed [being tested for SARS-CoV-2, HR 0.80 (95% CI 0.79-0.81); non-COVID-19 deaths, HR 0.79 (95% CI 0.76-0.83)]. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, this study shows no evidence of harmful effects of warfarin on severe COVID-19 disease.


Subject(s)
Anticoagulants/therapeutic use , COVID-19/epidemiology , Thromboembolism/drug therapy , Thromboembolism/virology , Warfarin/therapeutic use , Administration, Oral , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Anticoagulants/pharmacology , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Cohort Studies , England/epidemiology , Humans , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Thromboembolism/blood , Thromboembolism/epidemiology , Treatment Outcome , Young Adult
11.
Science ; 372(6538)2021 04 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1476375

ABSTRACT

A severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variant, VOC 202012/01 (lineage B.1.1.7), emerged in southeast England in September 2020 and is rapidly spreading toward fixation. Using a variety of statistical and dynamic modeling approaches, we estimate that this variant has a 43 to 90% (range of 95% credible intervals, 38 to 130%) higher reproduction number than preexisting variants. A fitted two-strain dynamic transmission model shows that VOC 202012/01 will lead to large resurgences of COVID-19 cases. Without stringent control measures, including limited closure of educational institutions and a greatly accelerated vaccine rollout, COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths across England in the first 6 months of 2021 were projected to exceed those in 2020. VOC 202012/01 has spread globally and exhibits a similar transmission increase (59 to 74%) in Denmark, Switzerland, and the United States.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Basic Reproduction Number , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19 Vaccines , Child , Child, Preschool , Communicable Disease Control , England/epidemiology , Europe/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Infant , Male , Middle Aged , Models, Theoretical , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Severity of Illness Index , Socioeconomic Factors , United States/epidemiology , Viral Load , Young Adult
12.
PLoS Med ; 18(10): e1003815, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1450724

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Multiple Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines appear to be safe and efficacious, but only high-income countries have the resources to procure sufficient vaccine doses for most of their eligible populations. The World Health Organization has published guidelines for vaccine prioritisation, but most vaccine impact projections have focused on high-income countries, and few incorporate economic considerations. To address this evidence gap, we projected the health and economic impact of different vaccination scenarios in Sindh Province, Pakistan (population: 48 million). METHODS AND FINDINGS: We fitted a compartmental transmission model to COVID-19 cases and deaths in Sindh from 30 April to 15 September 2020. We then projected cases, deaths, and hospitalisation outcomes over 10 years under different vaccine scenarios. Finally, we combined these projections with a detailed economic model to estimate incremental costs (from healthcare and partial societal perspectives), disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), and incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) for each scenario. We project that 1 year of vaccine distribution, at delivery rates consistent with COVAX projections, using an infection-blocking vaccine at $3/dose with 70% efficacy and 2.5-year duration of protection is likely to avert around 0.9 (95% credible interval (CrI): 0.9, 1.0) million cases, 10.1 (95% CrI: 10.1, 10.3) thousand deaths, and 70.1 (95% CrI: 69.9, 70.6) thousand DALYs, with an ICER of $27.9 per DALY averted from the health system perspective. Under a broad range of alternative scenarios, we find that initially prioritising the older (65+) population generally prevents more deaths. However, unprioritised distribution has almost the same cost-effectiveness when considering all outcomes, and both prioritised and unprioritised programmes can be cost-effective for low per-dose costs. High vaccine prices ($10/dose), however, may not be cost-effective, depending on the specifics of vaccine performance, distribution programme, and future pandemic trends. The principal drivers of the health outcomes are the fitted values for the overall transmission scaling parameter and disease natural history parameters from other studies, particularly age-specific probabilities of infection and symptomatic disease, as well as social contact rates. Other parameters are investigated in sensitivity analyses. This study is limited by model approximations, available data, and future uncertainty. Because the model is a single-population compartmental model, detailed impacts of nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) such as household isolation cannot be practically represented or evaluated in combination with vaccine programmes. Similarly, the model cannot consider prioritising groups like healthcare or other essential workers. The model is only fitted to the reported case and death data, which are incomplete and not disaggregated by, e.g., age. Finally, because the future impact and implementation cost of NPIs are uncertain, how these would interact with vaccination remains an open question. CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 vaccination can have a considerable health impact and is likely to be cost-effective if more optimistic vaccine scenarios apply. Preventing severe disease is an important contributor to this impact. However, the advantage of prioritising older, high-risk populations is smaller in generally younger populations. This reduction is especially true in populations with more past transmission, and if the vaccine is likely to further impede transmission rather than just disease. Those conditions are typical of many low- and middle-income countries.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/economics , COVID-19/economics , Cost-Benefit Analysis/methods , Health Impact Assessment/economics , Models, Economic , Vaccination/economics , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , Cost-Benefit Analysis/trends , Health Impact Assessment/methods , Health Impact Assessment/trends , Humans , Pakistan/epidemiology , Quality-Adjusted Life Years , Vaccination/trends
13.
Euro Surveill ; 26(39)2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1448678

ABSTRACT

BackgroundTo mitigate SARS-CoV-2 transmission risks from international air travellers, many countries implemented a combination of up to 14 days of self-quarantine upon arrival plus PCR testing in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.AimTo assess the effectiveness of quarantine and testing of international travellers to reduce risk of onward SARS-CoV-2 transmission into a destination country in the pre-COVID-19 vaccination era.MethodsWe used a simulation model of air travellers arriving in the United Kingdom from the European Union or the United States, incorporating timing of infection stages while varying quarantine duration and timing and number of PCR tests.ResultsQuarantine upon arrival with a PCR test on day 7 plus a 1-day delay for results can reduce the number of infectious arriving travellers released into the community by a median 94% (95% uncertainty interval (UI): 89-98) compared with a no quarantine/no test scenario. This reduction is similar to that achieved by a 14-day quarantine period (median > 99%; 95% UI: 98-100). Even shorter quarantine periods can prevent a substantial amount of transmission; all strategies in which travellers spend at least 5 days (mean incubation period) in quarantine and have at least one negative test before release are highly effective (median reduction 89%; 95% UI: 83-95)).ConclusionThe effect of different screening strategies impacts asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals differently. The choice of an optimal quarantine and testing strategy for unvaccinated air travellers may vary based on the number of possible imported infections relative to domestic incidence.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Pandemics , Quarantine , United Kingdom/epidemiology
14.
J Infect Dis ; 2021 Sep 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1405034

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Circulation of seasonal non-SARS-CoV-2 respiratory viruses with syndromic overlap during the COVID-19 pandemic may alter quality of COVID-19 surveillance, with possible consequences for real-time analysis and delay in implementation of control measures. METHODS: Using a multi-pathogen Susceptible-Exposed-Infectious-Recovered (SEIR) transmission model formalizing co-circulation of SARS-CoV-2 and another respiratory virus, we assess how an outbreak of secondary virus may affect two COVID-19 surveillance indicators: testing demand and positivity. Using simulation, we assess to what extent the use of multiplex PCR tests on a subsample of symptomatic individuals can help correct of the observed SARS-CoV-2 percent positivity and improve surveillance quality. RESULTS: We find that a non-SARS-CoV-2 epidemic strongly increases SARS-CoV-2 daily testing demand and artificially reduces the observed SARS-CoV-2 percent positivity for the duration of the outbreak. We estimate that performing one multiplex test for every 1,000 COVID-19 tests on symptomatic individuals could be sufficient to maintain surveillance of other respiratory viruses in the population and correct the observed SARS-CoV-2 percent positivity. CONCLUSIONS: This study highlights that co-circulating respiratory viruses can distort SARS-CoV-2 surveillance. Correction of the positivity rate can be achieved by using multiplex PCR tests, and a low number of samples is sufficient to avoid bias in SARS-CoV-2 surveillance.

15.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2021 Sep 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1393220

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The SARS-CoV-2 alpha variant (B.1.1.7) is associated with higher transmissibility than wild type virus, becoming the dominant variant in England by January 2021. We aimed to describe the severity of the alpha variant in terms of the pathway of disease from testing positive to hospital admission and death. METHODS: With the approval of NHS England, we linked individual-level data from primary care with SARS-CoV-2 community testing, hospital admission, and ONS all-cause death data. We used testing data with S-gene target failure as a proxy for distinguishing alpha and wild-type cases, and stratified Cox proportional hazards regression to compare the relative severity of alpha cases compared to wild type diagnosed from 16th November 2020 to 11th January 2021. RESULTS: Using data from 185,234 people who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in the community (alpha=93,153; wild-type=92,081), in fully adjusted analysis accounting for individual-level demographics and comorbidities as well as regional variation in infection incidence, we found alpha associated with 73% higher hazards of all-cause death (aHR: 1.73 (95% CI 1.41 - 2.13; P<.0001)) and 62% higher hazards of hospital admission (aHR: 1.62 ((95% CI 1.48 - 1.78; P<.0001), compared to wild-type virus. Among patients already admitted to ICU, the association between alpha and increased all-cause mortality was smaller and the confidence interval included the null (aHR: 1.20 (95% CI 0.74 - 1.95; P=0.45)). CONCLUSIONS: The SARS-CoV-2 alpha variant is associated with an increased risk of both hospitalisation and mortality than wild-type virus.

16.
Wellcome Open Res ; 6: 90, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1395316

ABSTRACT

Background: Care home residents have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Electronic Health Records (EHR) hold significant potential for studying the healthcare needs of this vulnerable population; however, identifying care home residents in EHR is not straightforward. We describe and compare three different methods for identifying care home residents in the newly created OpenSAFELY-TPP data analytics platform.  Methods: Working on behalf of NHS England, we identified individuals aged 65 years or older potentially living in a care home on the 1st of February 2020 using (1) a complex address linkage, in which cleaned GP registered addresses were matched to old age care home addresses using data from the Care and Quality Commission (CQC); (2) coded events in the EHR; (3) household identifiers, age and household size to identify households with more than 3 individuals aged 65 years or older as potential care home residents. Raw addresses were not available to the investigators. Results: Of 4,437,286 individuals aged 65 years or older, 2.27% were identified as potential care home residents using the complex address linkage, 1.96% using coded events, 3.13% using household size and age and 3.74% using either of these methods. 53,210 individuals (32.0% of all potential care home residents) were classified as care home residents using all three methods. Address linkage had the largest overlap with the other methods; 93.3% of individuals identified as care home residents using the address linkage were also identified as such using either coded events or household age and size.  Conclusion: We have described the partial overlap between three methods for identifying care home residents in EHR, and provide detailed instructions for how to implement these in OpenSAFELY-TPP to support research into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on care home residents.

18.
PLoS One ; 16(2): e0239247, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1362081

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The success of a government's COVID-19 control strategy relies on public trust and broad acceptance of response measures. We investigated public perceptions of the UK government's COVID-19 response, focusing on the relationship between trust and perceived transparency, during the first wave (April 2020) of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom. METHODS: Anonymous survey data were collected (2020-04-06 to 2020-04-22) from 9,322 respondents, aged 20+ using an online questionnaire shared primarily through Facebook. We took an embedded-mixed-methods approach to data analysis. Missing data were imputed via multiple imputation. Binomial & multinomial logistic regression were used to detect associations between demographic characteristics and perceptions or opinions of the UK government's response to COVID-19. Structural topic modelling (STM), qualitative thematic coding of sub-sets of responses were then used to perform a thematic analysis of topics that were of interest to key demographic groups. RESULTS: Most respondents (95.1%) supported government enforcement of behaviour change. While 52.1% of respondents thought the government was making good decisions, differences were apparent across demographic groups, for example respondents from Scotland had lower odds of responding positively than respondents in London. Higher educational levels saw decreasing odds of having a positive opinion of the government response and decreasing household income associated with decreasing positive opinion. Of respondents who thought the government was not making good decisions 60% believed the economy was being prioritised over people and their health. Positive views on government decision-making were associated with positive views on government transparency about the COVID-19 response. Qualitative analysis about perceptions of government transparency highlighted five key themes: (1) the justification of opacity due to the condition of crisis, (2) generalised mistrust of politics, (3) concerns about the role of scientific evidence, (4) quality of government communication and (5) questions about political decision-making processes. CONCLUSION: Our study suggests that trust is not homogenous across communities, and that generalised mistrust, concerns about the transparent use and communication of evidence and insights into decision-making processes can affect perceptions of the government's pandemic response. We recommend targeted community engagement, tailored to the experiences of different groups and a new focus on accountability and openness around how decisions are made in the response to the UK COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Attitude , COVID-19/psychology , Communicable Disease Control , Public Policy , Trust , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Socioeconomic Factors , Surveys and Questionnaires , United Kingdom
19.
Br J Gen Pract ; 71(712): e806-e814, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1339630

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Long COVID describes new or persistent symptoms at least 4 weeks after onset of acute COVID-19. Clinical codes to describe this phenomenon were recently created. AIM: To describe the use of long-COVID codes, and variation of use by general practice, demographic variables, and over time. DESIGN AND SETTING: Population-based cohort study in English primary care. METHOD: Working on behalf of NHS England, OpenSAFELY data were used encompassing 96% of the English population between 1 February 2020 and 25 May 2021. The proportion of people with a recorded code for long COVID was measured overall and by demographic factors, electronic health record software system (EMIS or TPP), and week. RESULTS: Long COVID was recorded for 23 273 people. Coding was unevenly distributed among practices, with 26.7% of practices having never used the codes. Regional variation ranged between 20.3 per 100 000 people for East of England (95% confidence interval [CI] = 19.3 to 21.4) and 55.6 per 100 000 people in London (95% CI = 54.1 to 57.1). Coding was higher among females (52.1, 95% CI = 51.3 to 52.9) than males (28.1, 95% CI = 27.5 to 28.7), and higher among practices using EMIS (53.7, 95% CI = 52.9 to 54.4) than those using TPP (20.9, 95% CI = 20.3 to 21.4). CONCLUSION: Current recording of long COVID in primary care is very low, and variable between practices. This may reflect patients not presenting; clinicians and patients holding different diagnostic thresholds; or challenges with the design and communication of diagnostic codes. Increased awareness of diagnostic codes is recommended to facilitate research and planning of services, and also surveys with qualitative work to better evaluate clinicians' understanding of the diagnosis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Clinical Coding , COVID-19/complications , Cohort Studies , England , Female , Humans , Male , Primary Health Care
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