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EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-314985


Controversial understandings of the coronavirus pandemic have turned data visualizations into a battleground. Defying public health officials, coronavirus skeptics on US social media spent much of 2020 creating data visualizations showing that the government's pandemic response was excessive and that the crisis was over. This paper investigates how pandemic visualizations circulated on social media, and shows that people who mistrust the scientific establishment often deploy the same rhetorics of data-driven decision-making used by experts, but to advocate for radical policy changes. Using a quantitative analysis of how visualizations spread on Twitter and an ethnographic approach to analyzing conversations about COVID data on Facebook, we document an epistemological gap that leads pro- and anti-mask groups to draw drastically different inferences from similar data. Ultimately, we argue that the deployment of COVID data visualizations reflect a deeper sociopolitical rift regarding the place of science in public life.

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20213116


BackgroundAssessment of cumulative incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infections is critical for monitoring the course and the extent of the epidemic. As asymptomatic or mild cases were typically not captured by surveillance data in France, we implemented nationwide serological surveillance. We present estimates for prevalence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the French population and the proportion of infected individuals who developed potentially protective neutralizing antibodies throughout the first epidemic wave. MethodsWe performed serial cross-sectional sampling of residual sera over three periods: prior to (9-15 March), during (6-12 April) and following (11-17 May) a nationwide lockdown. Each sample was tested for anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies targeting the Nucleoprotein and Spike using two Luciferase-Linked ImmunoSorbent Assays, and for neutralising antibodies using a pseudo-neutralisation assay. We fitted a general linear mixed model of seropositivity in a Bayesian framework to derive prevalence estimates stratified by age, sex and region. FindingsIn total, sera from 11 021 individuals were analysed. Nationwide seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies was estimated at 0.41% [0.05-0.88] mid-March, 4.14% [3.31-4.99] mid-April and 4.93% [4.02-5.89] mid-May. Approximately 70% of seropositive individuals had detectable neutralising antibodies. Seroprevalence was higher in regions where circulation occurred earlier and was more intense. Seroprevalence was lowest in children under 10 years of age (2.72% [1.10-4.87]). InterpretationSeroprevalence estimates confirm that the nationwide lockdown substantially curbed transmission and that the vast majority of the French population remains susceptible to SARS-CoV-2. Low seroprevalence in school age children suggests limited susceptibility and/or transmissibility in this age group. Our results show a clear picture of the progression of the first epidemic wave and provide a framework to inform the ongoing public health response as viral transmission is picking up again in France and globally. FundingSante publique France.

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20165423


OBJECTIVETo determine whether internal components of powered air purifying respirators (PAPR) used during the Corona virus 2019 disease (COVID-19) pandemic are contaminated with bacteria, fungi and/or any viral material. DESIGN & SETTINGIn situ microbiological study. Single NHS Trust, UK. OUTCOME MEASURESGrowth of any bacteria or fungi, or positive polymerase chain reaction results for common respiratory viruses and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) RESULTS25 PAPR hoods were swabbed; ten (40%) returned positive results. Bacterial growth was detected on six hoods (bacillus simplex, kocuria rhizophilia, bacillus weihenstephensis, microcccus luteus and staphylococcus epidermidis); five of the hoods were positive for fungal growth (non-sporulating environmental mould, NSEM); all sampled hoods tested negative for both SARS-CoV-2 and an expanded panel of respiratory viruses. There was wide variation in the storage of cleaned hoods. CONCLUSIONDespite following recommended cleaning procedures, bacteria and fungi can remain on the internal components of PAPR hoods, at levels significant enough to be swabbed and cultured. PAPR hoods have the potential to cross-infect wearers and patients and are used primarily by clinicians who fail to fit disposable FFP3 respirators; the female sex and non-Caucasian people are less likely to fit FFP3 respirators. The hoods tested cannot be adequately cleaned for use in high risk healthcare environments, PAPR hoods and tubes can act as fomites, and there are evident shortcomings in their provision. SUMMARYO_ST_ABSWHAT IS ALREADY KNOWN ON THIS TOPICC_ST_ABSPrior to this study there had been no similar investigations looking at the microbiological contamination of PAPR hoods in situ in the real work place hospital environment. SARS-CoV-2 is able to persist in an infective state on surfaces for up to 72 hours. The possibility of internal contamination of PAPR had never been addressed by manufacturers as the hoods were not designed for shared usage. WHAT THIS PAPER ADDSPAPR hoods in their current form risk transmitting infection between users, and do not protect patients from infected healthcare workers It is possible to detect biological agents within the PAPR hoods despite cleaning as per guidelines An infected asymptomatic carrier is at risk of infecting those around them due to contaminated exhalation