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medrxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.05.15.20103119


BackgroundCOVID-19 case fatality rate in hospitalized patients varies across countries and studies, but reliable estimates specific for age, sex, and comorbidities are needed to design trials for COVID-19 interventions. Aim of this study is to provide population-based survival curves of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. MethodsA cohort study was conducted in Lombardy, Veneto, and Reggio Emilia using COVID-19 registries linked to hospital discharge databases containing patient clinical histories. All patients with positive SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR test on oral/nasopharyngeal swabs hospitalized from 21st February to 21st April 2020 were identified. Kaplan Meier survival estimates were calculated at 14 and 30 days for death in any setting, stratifying by age, sex and Charlson Index. FindingsOverall, 42,926 hospitalized COVID-19 patients were identified. Patients median age was 69 years (IQR: 57-79), 62{middle dot}6% were males, 69{middle dot}4% had a Charlson Index of 0. In total, 11,205 (26{middle dot}1%) patients died over a median follow-up of 24 days (IQR: 10-35). Survival curves showed that 22{middle dot}0% of patients died within 14 days and 27{middle dot}6% within 30 days of hospitalization. Survival was higher in younger patients and in females. Younger patients with comorbidities had a lower survival than older ones with comorbidities. InterpretationOver 27% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients died within one month in three areas of Northern Italy that were heavily affected by SARS-CoV-2 infection. Such a high fatality rate suggests that trials should focus on survival and have follow-up of at least one month. FundingThe study did not receive any external funding. Research in contextEvidence before this study Two recent systematic reviews with meta-analyses report case fatality rates of three to four percent in COVID-19 patients. Most studies on hospitalized cohorts report only slightly higher figures. These figures do not correspond to those derived from routinely collected clinical data in most European countries, reporting a 10% case fatality rate which has been increasing over time since the epidemic started. Robust and precise survival estimates of hospitalized COVID-19 patients which take into account prognostic factors such as age, sex and burden of comorbidities are needed to design appropriate phase II and phase III clinical studies of drugs targeting COVID-19. Added value of this studyIn this study we present the first survival estimates by age, sex and Charlson index for a large population-based cohort of Italian hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Implications of all the available evidenceOver 27% of COVID-19 patients died within one month from hospital admission. Such a high fatality rate suggests that studies should prioritize mortality as primary outcome. Furthermore, we found that the fatality rate reaches a plateau 30 days after hospitalization, suggesting that studies should have at least one month of follow up to observe deaths; shorter follow-up could lead to overestimation of treatment benefits.

medrxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.03.30.20047217


Abstract OBJECTIVE: To examine the effectiveness of eye protection, face masks, or person distancing on interrupting or reducing the spread of respiratory viruses. DESIGN: Update of a Cochrane review that included a meta-analysis of observational studies during the SARS outbreak of 2003. DATA SOURCES: Eligible trials from the previous review; search of Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, PubMed, Embase and CINAHL from October 2010 up to 1 April 2020; and forward and backward citation analysis. DATA SELECTION: Randomised and cluster-randomised trials of people of any age, testing the use of eye protection, face masks, or person distancing against standard practice, or a similar physical barrier. Outcomes included any acute respiratory illness and its related consequences. DATA EXTRACTION AND ANALYSIS: Six authors independently assessed risk of bias using the Cochrane tool and extracted data. We used a generalised inverse variance method for pooling using a random-effects model and reported results with risk ratios and 95% Confidence Intervals (CI). RESULTS: We included 15 randomised trials investigating the effect of masks (14 trials) in healthcare workers and the general population and of quarantine (1 trial). We found no trials testing eye protection. Compared to no masks there was no reduction of influenza-like illness (ILI) cases (Risk Ratio 0.93, 95%CI 0.83 to 1.05) or influenza (Risk Ratio 0.84, 95%CI 0.61-1.17) for masks in the general population, nor in healthcare workers (Risk Ratio 0.37, 95%CI 0.05 to 2.50). There was no difference between surgical masks and N95 respirators: for ILI (Risk Ratio 0.83, 95%CI 0.63 to 1.08), for influenza (Risk Ratio 1.02, 95%CI 0.73 to 1.43). Harms were poorly reported and limited to discomfort with lower compliance. The only trial testing quarantining workers with household ILI contacts found a reduction in ILI cases, but increased risk of quarantined workers contracting influenza. All trials were conducted during seasonal ILI activity. CONCLUSIONS: Most included trials had poor design, reporting and sparse events. There was insufficient evidence to provide a recommendation on the use of facial barriers without other measures. We found insufficient evidence for a difference between surgical masks and N95 respirators and limited evidence to support effectiveness of quarantine. Based on observational evidence from the previous SARS epidemic included in the previous version of our Cochrane review we recommend the use of masks combined with other measures.

Respiratory Insufficiency