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1.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-22275458

ABSTRACT

Covid-19 has caused more than 1 million deaths in the US, including at least 1,433 deaths among children and young people (CYP) aged 0-19 years. Deaths among US CYP are rare in general, and so we argue here that the mortality burden of Covid-19 in CYP is best understood in the context of all other causes of CYP death. Using publicly available data from the National Center for Health Statistics, and comparing to mortality in 2019, the immediate pre-pandemic period, we find that Covid-19 is a leading cause of death in CYP aged 0-19 years in the US, ranking #9 among all causes of deaths, #5 in disease related causes of deaths (excluding accidents, assault and suicide), and #1 in deaths caused by infectious / respiratory diseases. Due to the impact of mitigations such as social distancing and our comparison of a single disease (Covid-19) to groups of causes such as deaths from pneumonia and influenza, these rankings are likely conservative lower bounds. Our findings underscore the importance of continued vaccination campaigns for CYP over 5 years of age in the US and for effective Covid-19 vaccines for under 5 year olds.

2.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-22274788

ABSTRACT

The new WHO estimates for COVID-19 excess deaths allow us to generate updated and more accurate models of COVID-19 associated orphanhood and caregiver loss. Using methodology established in prior studies, we combine age-specific fertility and excess death estimates from January 2020 to May 2022. We find 10.4 million children have lost a parent or caregiver due to COVID-associated excess deaths, and 7.5 million children have experienced COVID-associated orphanhood. Without supportive intervention, caregiver loss can bring severe risks of poverty, school dropout, sexual exploitation, and mental health distress. It is essential that evidence-based care for these children is integrated into all national response plans as a caring action to protect children from immediate and long-term harms of COVID-19.

3.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-22270735

ABSTRACT

BackgroundUnderstanding the characteristics and natural history of novel pathogens is crucial to inform successful control measures. Japan was one of the first affected countries in the COVID-19 pandemic reporting their first case on 14 January 2020. Interventions including airport screening, contact tracing, and cluster investigations were quickly implemented. Here we present insights from the first 3 months of the epidemic in Japan based on detailed case data. MethodsWe conducted descriptive analyses based on information systematically extracted from individual case reports from 13 January to 31 March 2020 including patient demographics, date of report and symptom onset, symptom progression, travel history, and contact type. We analysed symptom progression and estimated the time-varying reproduction number, Rt, correcting for epidemic growth using an established Bayesian framework. Key delays and the age-specific probability of transmission were estimated using data on exposures and transmission pairs. ResultsThe corrected fitted mean onset-to-reporting delay after the peak was 4 days (standard deviation: {+/-}2 days). Early transmission was driven primarily by returning travellers with Rt peaking at 2.4 (95%CrI:1.6, 3.3) nationally. In the final week of the trusted period, Rt accounting for importations diverged from overall Rt at 1.1 (95% CrI: 1.0, 1.2) compared to 1.5 (95% CrI: 1.3, 1.6) respectively. Household (39.0%) and workplace (11.6%) exposures were the most frequently reported potential source of infection. The estimated probability of transmission was assortative by age. Across all age groups, cases most frequently onset with cough, fever, and fatigue. There were no reported cases of patients <20 years old developing pneumonia or severe respiratory symptoms. ConclusionsInformation collected in the early phases of an outbreak are important in characterising any novel pathogen. Timely recognition of key symptoms and high-risk settings for transmission can help to inform response strategies. The data analysed here were the result of robust and timely investigations and demonstrate the improvements to epidemic control as a result of such surveillance.

4.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21260746

ABSTRACT

BackgroundAs of July 2021, more than 180,000,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported across the world, with more than 4 million deaths. Mathematical modelling and forecasting efforts have been widely used to inform policy-making and to create situational awareness. Methods and FindingsFrom 8th March to 29th November 2020, we produced weekly estimates of SARS-CoV-2 transmissibility and forecasts of deaths due to COVID-19 for countries with evidence of sustained transmission. The estimates and forecasts were based on an ensemble model comprising of three models that were calibrated using only the reported number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in each country. We also developed a novel heuristic to combine weekly estimates of transmissibility and potential changes in population immunity due to infection to produce forecasts over a 4-week horizon. We evaluated the robustness of the forecasts using relative error, coverage probability, and comparisons with null models. ConclusionsDuring the 39-week period covered by this study, we produced short- and medium-term forecasts for 81 countries. Both the short- and medium-term forecasts captured well the epidemic trajectory across different waves of COVID-19 infections with small relative errors over the forecast horizon. The model was well calibrated with 56.3% and 45.6% of the observations lying in the 50% Credible Interval in 1-week and 4-week ahead forecasts respectively. We could accurately characterise the overall phase of the epidemic up to 4-weeks ahead in 84.9% of country-days. The medium-term forecasts can be used in conjunction with the short-term forecasts of COVID-19 mortality as a useful planning tool as countries continue to relax stringent public health measures that were implemented to contain the pandemic.

5.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20197376

ABSTRACT

Following initial declines, in mid 2020, a resurgence in transmission of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has occurred in the United States and parts of Europe. Despite the wide implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions, it is still not known how they are impacted by changing contact patterns, age and other demographics. As COVID-19 disease control becomes more localised, understanding the age demographics driving transmission and how these impacts the loosening of interventions such as school reopening is crucial. Considering dynamics for the United States, we analyse aggregated, age-specific mobility trends from more than 10 million individuals and link these mechanistically to age-specific COVID-19 mortality data. In contrast to previous approaches, we link mobility to mortality via age-specific contact patterns and use this rich relationship to reconstruct accurate transmission dynamics. Contrary to anecdotal evidence, we find little support for age-shifts in contact and transmission dynamics over time. We estimate that, until August, 63.4% [60.9%-65.5%] of SARS-CoV-2 infections in the United States originated from adults aged 20-49, while 1.2% [0.8%-1.8%] originated from children aged 0- 9. In areas with continued, community-wide transmission, our transmission model predicts that re-opening kindergartens and elementary schools could facilitate spread and lead to additional COVID-19 attributable deaths over a 90-day period. These findings indicate that targeting interventions to adults aged 20-49 are an important consideration in halting resurgent epidemics and preventing COVID-19-attributable deaths when kindergartens and elementary schools reopen.

6.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20193250

ABSTRACT

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the world, it is increasingly important to understand the factors that influence its transmission. Seasonal variation driven by responses to changing environment has been shown to affect the transmission intensity of several coronaviruses. However, the impact of the environment on SARS-CoV-2 remains largely unknown, and thus seasonal variation remains a source of uncertainty in forecasts of SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Here we address this issue by assessing the association of temperature, humidity, UV radiation, and population density with estimates of transmission rate (R). Using data from the United States of America, we explore correlates of transmission across USA states using comparative regression and integrative epidemiological modelling. We find that policy intervention (`lockdown') and reductions in individuals' mobility are the major predictors of SARS-CoV-2 transmission rates, but in their absence lower temperatures and higher population densities are correlated with increased SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Our results show that summer weather cannot be considered a substitute for mitigation policies, but that lower autumn and winter temperatures may lead to an increase in transmission intensity in the absence of policy interventions or behavioural changes. We outline how this information may improve the forecasting of SARS-CoV-2, its future seasonal dynamics, and inform intervention policies.

7.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20152355

ABSTRACT

As of 1st June 2020, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 104,232 confirmed or probable COVID-19-related deaths in the US. This was more than twice the number of deaths reported in the next most severely impacted country. We jointly modelled the US epidemic at the state-level, using publicly available death data within a Bayesian hierarchical semi-mechanistic framework. For each state, we estimate the number of individuals that have been infected, the number of individuals that are currently infectious and the time-varying reproduction number (the average number of secondary infections caused by an infected person). We used changes in mobility to capture the impact that non-pharmaceutical interventions and other behaviour changes have on the rate of transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Nationally, we estimated 3.7% [3.4%-4.0%] of the population had been infected by 1st June 2020, with wide variation between states, and approximately 0.01% of the population was infectious. We also demonstrated that good model forecasts of deaths for the next 3 weeks with low error and good coverage of our credible intervals.

8.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20151001

ABSTRACT

Since its global emergence in 2020, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused multiple epidemics in the United States. Because medical treatments for the virus are still emerging and a vaccine is not yet available, state and local governments have sought to limit its spread by enacting various social distancing interventions such as school closures and lockdown, but the effectiveness of these interventions is unknown. We applied an established, semi-mechanistic Bayesian hierarchical model of these interventions on SARS-CoV-2 spread in Europe to the United States. We estimated the effect of interventions across all states, contrasted the estimated reproduction number, Rt, for each state before and after lockdown, and contrasted predicted future fatalities with actual fatalities as a check on the models validity. Overall, school closures and lockdown are the only interventions modeled that have a reliable impact on Rt, and lockdown appears to have played a key role in reducing Rt below 1.0. We conclude that reversal of lockdown, without implementation of additional, equally effective interventions, will enable continued, sustained transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the United States.

9.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20096701

ABSTRACT

1Brazil is currently reporting the second highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the world. Here we characterise the initial dynamics of COVID-19 across the country and assess the impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) that were implemented using a semi-mechanistic Bayesian hierarchical modelling approach. Our results highlight the significant impact these NPIs had across states, reducing an average Rt > 3 to an average of 1.5 by 9-May-2020, but that these interventions failed to reduce Rt < 1, congruent with the worsening epidemic Brazil has experienced since. We identify extensive heterogeneity in the epidemic trajectory across Brazil, with the estimated number of days to reach 0.1% of the state population infected since the first nationally recorded case ranging from 20 days in Sao Paulo compared to 60 days in Goias, underscoring the importance of sub-national analyses in understanding asynchronous state-level epidemics underlying the national spread and burden of COVID-19.

10.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20089359

ABSTRACT

Italy was the first European country to experience sustained local transmission of COVID-19. As of 1st May 2020, the Italian health authorities reported 28,238 deaths nationally. To control the epidemic, the Italian government implemented a suite of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), including school and university closures, social distancing and full lockdown involving banning of public gatherings and non essential movement. In this report, we model the effect of NPIs on transmission using data on average mobility. We estimate that the average reproduction number (a measure of transmission intensity) is currently below one for all Italian regions, and significantly so for the majority of the regions. Despite the large number of deaths, the proportion of population that has been infected by SARS-CoV-2 (the attack rate) is far from the herd immunity threshold in all Italian regions, with the highest attack rate observed in Lombardy (13.18% [10.66%-16.70%]). Italy is set to relax the currently implemented NPIs from 4th May 2020. Given the control achieved by NPIs, we consider three scenarios for the next 8 weeks: a scenario in which mobility remains the same as during the lockdown, a scenario in which mobility returns to pre-lockdown levels by 20%, and a scenario in which mobility returns to pre-lockdown levels by 40%. The scenarios explored assume that mobility is scaled evenly across all dimensions, that behaviour stays the same as before NPIs were implemented, that no pharmaceutical interventions are introduced, and it does not include transmission reduction from contact tracing, testing and the isolation of confirmed or suspected cases. New interventions, such as enhanced testing and contact tracing are going to be introduced and will likely contribute to reductions in transmission; therefore our estimates should be viewed as pessimistic projections. We find that, in the absence of additional interventions, even a 20% return to pre-lockdown mobility could lead to a resurgence in the number of deaths far greater than experienced in the current wave in several regions. Future increases in the number of deaths will lag behind the increase in transmission intensity and so a second wave will not be immediately apparent from just monitoring of the daily number of deaths. Our results suggest that SARS-CoV-2 transmission as well as mobility should be closely monitored in the next weeks and months. To compensate for the increase in mobility that will occur due to the relaxation of the currently implemented NPIs, adherence to the recommended social distancing measures alongside enhanced community surveillance including swab testing, contact tracing and the early isolation of infections are of paramount importance to reduce the risk of resurgence in transmission. SUGGESTED CITATIONMichaela A. C. Vollmer, Swapnil Mishra, H Juliette T Unwin, Axel Gandy et al. Using mobility to estimate the transmission intensity of COVID-19 in Italy: a subnational analysis with future scenarios. Imperial College London (2020) doi:https://doi.org/10.25561/78677 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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