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Journal of the Royal Society Interface ; 19(194):20220477, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2018414


Periodic resurgences of COVID-19 in the coming years can be expected, while public health interventions may be able to reduce their intensity. We used a transmission model to assess how the use of booster doses and non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) amid ongoing pathogen evolution might influence future transmission waves. We find that incidence is likely to increase as NPIs relax, with a second seasonally driven surge expected in autumn 2022. However, booster doses can greatly reduce the intensity of both waves and reduce cumulative deaths by 20% between 7 January 2022 and 7 January 2023. Reintroducing NPIs during the autumn as incidence begins to increase again could also be impactful. Combining boosters and NPIs results in a 30% decrease in cumulative deaths, with potential for greater impacts if variant-adapted boosters are used. Reintroducing these NPIs in autumn 2022 as transmission rates increase provides similar benefits to sustaining NPIs indefinitely (307 000 deaths with indefinite NPIs and boosters compared with 304 000 deaths with transient NPIs and boosters). If novel variants with increased transmissibility or immune escape emerge, deaths will be higher, but vaccination and NPIs are expected to remain effective tools to decrease both cumulative and peak health system burden, providing proportionally similar relative impacts.

PubMed; 2021.
Preprint in English | PubMed | ID: ppcovidwho-334654


The SARS-CoV-2 global pandemic poses significant health risks to workers who are essential to maintaining the food supply chain. Using a quantitative risk assessment model, this study characterized the impact of risk reduction strategies for controlling SARS-CoV-2 transmission (droplet, aerosol, fomite-mediated) among front-line workers in a representative enclosed food manufacturing facility. We simulated: 1) individual and cumulative SARS-CoV-2 infection risks from close contact (droplet and aerosols at 1-3m), aerosol, and fomite-mediated exposures to a susceptible worker following exposure to an infected worker during an 8h-shift;and 2) the relative reduction in SARS-CoV-2 infection risk attributed to infection control interventions (physical distancing, mask use, ventilation, surface disinfection, hand hygiene). Without mitigation measures, the SARS-CoV-2 infection risk was largest for close contact (droplet and aerosol) at 1m (0.96, 95%CI: 0.67-1.0). In comparison, risk associated with fomite (0.26, 95%CI: 0.10-0.56) or aerosol exposure alone (0.05, 95%CI: 0.01-0.13) at 1m distance was substantially lower (73-95%). At 1m, droplet transmission predominated over aerosol and fomite-mediated transmission, however, this changed by 3m, with aerosols comprising the majority of the exposure dose. Increasing physical distancing reduced risk by 84% (1 to 2m) and 91% (1 to 3m). Universal mask use reduced infection risk by 52-88%, depending on mask type. Increasing ventilation (from 0.1 to 2-8 air changes/hour) resulted in risk reductions of 14-54% (1m) and 55-85% (2m). Combining these strategies, together with handwashing and surface disinfection, resulted in <1% infection risk. Current industry SARS-CoV-2 risk reduction strategies, particularly when bundled, provide significant protection to essential food workers. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Using mathematical modeling, we find that workers in enclosed food manufacturing facilities are at higher risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection from close contact transmission (exposure to large droplets and small aerosol particles) than fomite transmission. Thus, strategies protecting workers should prioritize close contact transmission pathways, such as physical distancing, universal mask use, and room air changes, with surface disinfection (reducing fomite transmission) and handwashing of secondary importance. Our work supports current international (EU-OSHA), domestic (FDA, OSHA), and food industry-standard guidance for managing COVID-19 transmission in essential workers in the food manufacturing sector. Although our model was designed for an indoor food manufacturing setting, it can be readily adapted to other indoor environments and infectious respiratory pathogens.

PubMed; 2021.
Preprint in English | PubMed | ID: ppcovidwho-333850


BACKGROUND: Countries continue to debate the need for decontamination of cold-chain food packaging to reduce possible SARS-CoV-2 fomite transmission among workers. While laboratory-based studies demonstrate persistence of SARS-CoV-2 on surfaces, the likelihood of fomite-mediated transmission under real-life conditions is uncertain. METHODS: Using a quantitative risk assessment model, we simulated in a frozen food packaging facility 1) SARS-CoV-2 fomite-mediated infection risks following worker exposure to contaminated plastic packaging;and 2) reductions in these risks attributed to masking, handwashing, and vaccination. FINDINGS: In a representative facility with no specific interventions, SARS-CoV-2 infection risk to a susceptible worker from contact with contaminated packaging was 2.8 x 10 -3 per 1h-period (95%CI: 6.9 x 10 -6 , 2.4 x 10 -2 ). Implementation of standard infection control measures, handwashing and masks (9.4 x 10 -6 risk per 1h-period, 95%CI: 2.3 x 10 -8 , 8.1 x 10 -5 ), substantially reduced risk (99.7%). Vaccination of the susceptible worker (two doses Pfizer/Moderna, vaccine effectiveness: 86-99%) combined with handwashing and masking reduced risk to less than 1.0 x 10 -6 . Simulating increased infectiousness/transmissibility of new variants (2-, 10-fold viral shedding) among a fully vaccinated workforce, handwashing and masks continued to mitigate risk (2.0 x 10 -6 -1.1 x 10 -5 risk per 1h-period). Decontamination of packaging in addition to these interventions reduced infection risks to below the 1.0 x 10 -6 risk threshold. INTERPRETATION: Fomite-mediated SARS-CoV-2 infection risks were very low under cold-chain conditions. Handwashing and masking provide significant protection to workers, especially when paired with vaccination. FUNDING: U.S. Department of Agriculture.

PubMed; 2020.
Preprint in English | PubMed | ID: ppcovidwho-333609


BACKGROUND: Serology tests can identify previous infections and facilitate estimation of the number of total infections. However, immunoglobulins targeting severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) have been reported to wane below the detectable level of serological assays. We estimate the cumulative incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection from serology studies, accounting for expected levels of antibody acquisition (seroconversion) and waning (seroreversion), and apply this framework using data from New York City (NYC) and Connecticut. METHODS: We estimated time from seroconversion to seroreversion and infection fatality ratio (IFR) using mortality data from March-October 2020 and population-level cross-sectional seroprevalence data from April-August 2020 in NYC and Connecticut. We then estimated the daily seroprevalence and cumulative incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection. FINDINGS: The estimated average time from seroconversion to seroreversion was 3-4 months. The estimated IFR was 1.1% (95% credible interval: 1.0-1.2%) in NYC and 1.4% (1.1-1.7%) in Connecticut. The estimated daily seroprevalence declined after a peak in the spring. The estimated cumulative incidence reached 26.8% (24.2-29.7%) and 8.8% (7.1-11.3%) at the end of September in NYC and Connecticut, higher than maximum seroprevalence measures (22.1% and 6.1%), respectively. INTERPRETATION: The cumulative incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection is underestimated using cross-sectional serology data without adjustment for waning antibodies. Our approach can help quantify the magnitude of underestimation and adjust estimates for waning antibodies. FUNDING: This study was supported by the US National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

PubMed; 2020.
Preprint in English | PubMed | ID: ppcovidwho-333586


BACKGROUND: Quantifying occupational risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection among healthcare workers can inform efforts to improve healthcare worker and patient safety and reduce transmission. This study aimed to quantify demographic, occupational, and community risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity among healthcare workers in a large metropolitan healthcare system. METHODS: We analyzed data from a cross-sectional survey conducted from April through June of 2020 linking risk factors for occupational and community exposure to COVID-19 with SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity. A multivariable logistic regression model was fit to quantify risk factors for infection. Participants were employees and medical staff members who elected to participate in SARS-CoV-2 serology testing offered to all healthcare workers as part of a quality initiative, and who completed a survey on exposure to COVID-19 and use of personal protective equipment. Exposures of interest included known demographic risk factors for COVID-19, residential zip code incidence of COVID-19, occupational exposure to PCR test-positive healthcare workers or patients, and use of personal protective equipment. The primary outcome of interest was SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity. RESULTS: SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity was estimated to be 5.7% (95% CI: 5.2%-6.1%) among 10,275 healthcare workers. Community contact with a person known or suspected to have COVID-19 (aOR=1.9, 95% CI:1.4-2.5) and zip code level COVID-19 incidence (aOR: 1.4, 95% CI: 1.0-2.0) increased the odds of infection. Black individuals were at high risk (aOR=2.0, 95% CI:1.6-2.4). Overall, occupational risk factors accounted for 27% (95% CI: 25%-30%) of the risk among healthcare workers and included contact with a PCR test-positive healthcare worker (aOR=1.2, 95% CI:1.0-1.6). CONCLUSIONS: Community risk factors, including contact with a COVID-19 positive individual and residential COVID-19 incidence, are more strongly associated with SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity among healthcare workers than exposure in the workplace.

PubMed; 2022.
Preprint in English | PubMed | ID: ppcovidwho-332469


The response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S prompted abrupt and dramatic changes to social contact patterns. Monitoring changing social behavior is essential to provide reliable input data for mechanistic models of infectious disease, which have been increasingly used to support public health policy to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic. While some studies have reported on changing contact patterns throughout the pandemic., few have reported on differences in contact patterns among key demographic groups and none have reported nationally representative estimates. We conducted a national probability survey of US households and collected information on social contact patterns during two time periods: August-December 2020 (before widespread vaccine availability) and March-April 2021 (during national vaccine rollout). Overall, contact rates in Spring 2021 were similar to those in Fall 2020, with most contacts reported at work. Persons identifying as non-White, non-Black, non-Asian, and non-Hispanic reported high numbers of contacts relative to other racial and ethnic groups. Contact rates were highest in those reporting occupations in retail, hospitality and food service, and transportation. Those testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies reported a higher number of daily contacts than those who were seronegative. Our findings provide evidence for differences in social behavior among demographic groups, highlighting the profound disparities that have become the hallmark of the COVID-19 pandemic.