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2.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-312919

ABSTRACT

How will the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic develop in the coming months and years? Based on an expert survey, we examine key aspects that are likely to influence COVID-19 in Europe. The future challenges and developments will strongly depend on the progress of national and global vaccination programs, the emergence and spread of variants of concern, and public responses to nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). In the short term, many people are still unvaccinated, VOCs continue to emerge and spread, and mobility and population mixing is expected to increase over the summer. Therefore, policies that lift restrictions too much and too early risk another damaging wave. This challenge remains despite the reduced opportunities for transmission due to vaccination progress and reduced indoor mixing in the summer. In autumn 2021, increased indoor activity might accelerate the spread again, but a necessary reintroduction of NPIs might be too slow. The incidence may strongly rise again, possibly filling intensive care units, if vaccination levels are not high enough. A moderate, adaptive level of NPIs will thus remain necessary. These epidemiological aspects are put into perspective with the economic, social, and health-related consequences and thereby provide a holistic perspective on the future of COVID-19.

3.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-308689

ABSTRACT

Digital contact tracing is a public health intervention. It should be integrated with local health policy, provide rapid and accurate notifications to exposed individuals, and encourage high app uptake and adherence to quarantine. Real-time monitoring and evaluation of effectiveness of app-based contact tracing is key for improvement and public trust.

4.
Lancet Reg Health Eur ; 13: 100294, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1587066

ABSTRACT

In the summer of 2021, European governments removed most NPIs after experiencing prolonged second and third waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most countries failed to achieve immunization rates high enough to avoid resurgence of the virus. Public health strategies for autumn and winter 2021 have ranged from countries aiming at low incidence by re-introducing NPIs to accepting high incidence levels. However, such high incidence strategies almost certainly lead to the very consequences that they seek to avoid: restrictions that harm people and economies. At high incidence, the important pandemic containment measure 'test-trace-isolate-support' becomes inefficient. At that point, the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and its numerous harmful consequences can likely only be controlled through restrictions. We argue that all European countries need to pursue a low incidence strategy in a coordinated manner. Such an endeavour can only be successful if it is built on open communication and trust.

5.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-295758

ABSTRACT

In this position paper, a large group of interdisciplinary experts outlines response strategies against the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in the winter of 2021/2022 in Germany. We review the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic, from incidence and vaccination efficacy to hospital capacity. Building on this situation assessment, we illustrate various possible scenarios for the winter, and detail the mechanisms and effectiveness of the non-pharmaceutical interventions, vaccination, and booster. With this assessment, we want to provide orientation for decision makers about the progress and mitigation of COVID-19.

6.
PLoS One ; 16(9): e0256660, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1398935

ABSTRACT

During the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic mobile health applications indicating risks emerging from close contacts to infected persons have a large potential to interrupt transmission chains by automating contact tracing. Since its dispatch in Germany in June 2020 the Corona Warn App has been downloaded on 25.7 Mio smartphones by February 2021. To understand barriers to download and user fidelity in different sociodemographic groups we analysed data from five consecutive cross-sectional waves of the COVID-19 Snapshot Monitoring survey from June to August 2020. Questions on the Corona Warn App included information on download, use, functionality, usability, and consequences of the app. Of the 4,960 participants (mean age 45.9 years, standard deviation 16.0, 50.4% female), 36.5% had downloaded the Corona Warn App. Adjusted analysis found that those who had downloaded the app were less likely to be female (Adjusted Odds Ratio for men 1.16 95% Confidence Interval [1.02;1.33]), less likely to be younger (Adjusted Odds Ratio for age 18 to 39 0.47 [0.32;0.59] Adjusted Odds Ratio for age 40 to 64 0.57 [0.46;0.69]), less likely to have a lower household income (AOR 0.55 [0.43;0.69]), and more likely to live in one of the Western federal states including Berlin (AOR 2.31 [1.90;2.82]). Willingness to disclose a positive test result and trust in data protection compliance of the Corona Warn App was significantly higher in older adults. Willingness to disclose also increased with higher educational degrees and income. This study supports the hypothesis of a digital divide that separates users and non-users of the Corona Warn App along a well-known health gap of education, income, and region.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Contact Tracing/methods , Mobile Applications/statistics & numerical data , Smartphone/statistics & numerical data , Surveys and Questionnaires , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics/prevention & control , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2/physiology
8.
Lancet Reg Health Eur ; 8: 100185, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1331031

ABSTRACT

How will the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic develop in the coming months and years? Based on an expert survey, we examine key aspects that are likely to influence the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe. The challenges and developments will strongly depend on the progress of national and global vaccination programs, the emergence and spread of variants of concern (VOCs), and public responses to non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). In the short term, many people remain unvaccinated, VOCs continue to emerge and spread, and mobility and population mixing are expected to increase. Therefore, lifting restrictions too much and too early risk another damaging wave. This challenge remains despite the reduced opportunities for transmission given vaccination progress and reduced indoor mixing in summer 2021. In autumn 2021, increased indoor activity might accelerate the spread again, whilst a necessary reintroduction of NPIs might be too slow. The incidence may strongly rise again, possibly filling intensive care units, if vaccination levels are not high enough. A moderate, adaptive level of NPIs will thus remain necessary. These epidemiological aspects combined with economic, social, and health-related consequences provide a more holistic perspective on the future of the COVID-19 pandemic.

10.
Gesundheitswesen ; 82(8-09): 664-669, 2020 Sep.
Article in German | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-796741

ABSTRACT

Contact tracing is currently one of the most effective measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to identify persons that would otherwise not be known or remembered and to keep the time delay when reporting an infection and when contacting people as short as possible, digital contact tracing using smartphones seems to be a reasonable measure additional to manual contact tracing. Although first modelling studies predicted a positive effect in terms of prompt contact tracing, no empirically reliable data are as yet available, neither on the population-wide benefit nor on the potential risks of contact tracing apps. Risk-benefit assessment of such an app includes investigating whether such an app fulfils its purpose, as also research on the effectiveness, risks and side effects, and implementation processes (e. g. planning and inclusion of different participants). The aim of this article was to give an overview of possible public health benefits as well as technical, social, legal and ethical aspects of a contact-tracing app in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, conditions for the widest possible use of the app are presented.


Subject(s)
Contact Tracing , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Mobile Applications , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
11.
Z. Allg.med. ; 5(96): 230-234, 2020.
Article in German | WHO COVID, ELSEVIER | ID: covidwho-360996

ABSTRACT

Assays to test for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 can display a high proportion of false-positive results if the frequency of the disease in the general population is low. Testing is not suitable for proving or ruling out an acute infection. Judging an individual patient, a positive antibody titer does not necessarily mean that this person is immune. Currently ELISA assays are not appropriate for individual screening purposes but possibly can complement diagnostic procedures. They are suitable for population-based screening in the context of studies.

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