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1.
Soc Sci Med ; 311: 115319, 2022 Sep 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2008124

ABSTRACT

One of the most consistent and worrying features of the COVID-19 pandemic globally has been the disproportionate burden of the epidemic in the most deprived areas. Most of the literature so far though has focused on estimating the extent of these inequalities. There has been much less attention paid to exploring the main pathways underpinning them. In this study, we employ the syndemic pandemic theoretical framework and apply novel decomposition methods to investigate the proportion of the COVID-19 mortality gap by area-level deprivation in England during the first wave of the pandemic (January to July 2020) was accounted for by pre-existing inequalities in the compositional and contextual characteristics of place. We use a decomposition approach to explicitly quantify the independent contribution of four inequalities pathways (vulnerability, susceptibility, exposure and transmission) in explaining the more severe COVID-19 outcomes in the most deprived local authorities compared to the rest. We find that inequalities in transmission (73%) and in vulnerability (49%) factors explained the highest proportion of mortality by deprivation. Our results suggest that public health agencies need to develop short- and long-term strategies to alleviate these underlying inequalities in order to alleviate the more severe impacts on the most vulnerable communities.

2.
J Alzheimers Dis ; 88(2): 679-692, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1875365

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Social restriction measures imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom impacted on carers of people with dementia, limiting access to support services and increasing perceived burden of caring. Few studies have compared data collected both during and before the pandemic to examine the effect of these changes. OBJECTIVE: To explore whether the COVID-19 pandemic affected the well-being of carers of people with dementia living in the community, and their ability to cope with their caring responsibilities. METHODS: Analysis was conducted on two groups of carers who were enrolled in the IDEAL programme; the 'pre-pandemic group' (n = 312), assessed at two time points prior to the pandemic, and the 'pandemic group', assessed prior to and several months into the pandemic (n = 156). For the pre-pandemic group, carers were matched 2:1 to carers in the pandemic group on certain characteristics. Differences in change over time between the two groups on self-reported well-being, quality of life, coping, perceived competence, and role captivity, were investigated using mixed effect modelling. RESULTS: Compared to the pre-pandemic group, those in the pandemic group appeared to cope better and had more stable self-rated competency and role captivity. They did not differ in terms of well-being or quality of life. CONCLUSIONS: Despite reports of negative impacts on carers early in the pandemic, the findings suggest the pandemic had little negative longer-term impact on carers of people with dementia, and in fact they appeared to have a more positive attitude towards coping several months into the pandemic.


Subject(s)
Adaptation, Psychological , COVID-19 , Caregivers , Dementia , Caregivers/psychology , Dementia/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Quality of Life
3.
Front Psychiatry ; 13: 849808, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1775806

ABSTRACT

Objective: Research suggests a decline in the mental health and wellbeing of people with dementia (PwD) during the COVID-19 pandemic; however few studies have compared data collected pre-pandemic and during the pandemic. Moreover, none have compared this change with what would be expected due to dementia progression. We explored whether PwD experienced changes in mental health and wellbeing by comparing pre-pandemic and pandemic data, and drew comparisons with another group of PwD questioned on two occasions prior to the pandemic. Methods: Community-dwelling PwD enrolled in the IDEAL programme were split into two groups matched for age group, sex, dementia diagnosis, and time since diagnosis. Although each group was assessed twice, one was assessed prior to and during the pandemic (pandemic group; n = 115) whereas the other was assessed prior to the pandemic (pre-pandemic group; n = 230). PwD completed measures of mood, sense of self, wellbeing, optimism, quality of life, and life satisfaction. Results: Compared to the pre-pandemic group, the pandemic group were less likely to report mood problems, or be pessimistic, but more likely to become dissatisfied with their lives. There were no changes in continuity in sense of self, wellbeing, and quality of life. Discussion: Results suggest the pandemic had little effect on the mental health and wellbeing of PwD, with any changes observed likely to be consistent with expected rates of decline due to dementia. Although personal accounts attest to the challenges experienced, PwD appear to have been resilient to the impact of lockdown and social restrictions during the pandemic.

4.
Lancet Reg Health Eur ; 14: 100296, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1587065

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Population characteristics can be used to infer vulnerability of communities to COVID-19, or to the likelihood of high levels of vaccine hesitancy. Communities harder hit by the virus, or at risk of being so, stand to benefit from greater resource allocation than their population size alone would suggest. This study reports a simple but efficacious method of ranking small areas of England by relative characteristics that are linked with COVID-19 vulnerability and vaccine hesitancy. METHODS: Publicly available data on a range of characteristics previously linked with either poor COVID-19 outcomes or vaccine hesitancy were collated for all Middle Super Output Areas of England (MSOA, n=6790, excluding Isles of Scilly), scaled and combined into two numeric indices. Multivariable linear regression was used to build a parsimonious model of vulnerability (static socio-ecological vulnerability index, SEVI) in 60% of MSOAs, and retained variables were used to construct two simple indices. Assuming a monotonic relationship between indices and outcomes, Spearman correlation coefficients were calculated between the SEVI and cumulative COVID-19 case rates at MSOA level in the remaining 40% of MSOAs over periods both during and out with national lockdowns. Similarly, a novel vaccine hesitancy index (VHI) was constructed using population characteristics aligned with factors identified by an Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey analysis. The relationship between the VHI and vaccine coverage in people aged 12+years (as of 2021-06-24) was determined using Spearman correlation. The indices were split into quintiles, and MSOAs within the highest vulnerability and vaccine hesitancy quintiles were mapped. FINDINGS: The SEVI showed a moderate to strong relationship with case rates in the validation dataset across the whole study period, and for every intervening period studied except early in the pandemic when testing was highly selective. The SEVI was more strongly correlated with case rates than any of its domains (rs 0·59 95% CI 0.57-0.62) and outperformed an existing MSOA-level vulnerability index. The VHI was significantly negatively correlated with COVID-19 vaccine coverage in the validation data at the time of writing (rs -0·43 95% CI -0·46 to -0·41). London had the largest number and proportion of MSOAs in quintile 5 (most vulnerable/hesitant) of SEVI and VHI concurrently. INTERPRETATION: The indices presented offer an efficacious way of identifying geographical disparities in COVID-19 risk, thus helping focus resources according to need. FUNDING: Funder: Integrated Covid Hub North East. AWARD NUMBER: n/a. GRANT RECIPIENT: Fiona Matthews.

5.
J Alzheimers Dis ; 85(2): 925-940, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1518458

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with dementia have been widely-documented, but most studies have relied on carer reports and few have compared responses to information collected before the pandemic. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to explore the impact of the pandemic on community-dwelling individuals with mild-to-moderate dementia and compare responses with pre-pandemic data. METHODS: During the second wave of the pandemic, we conducted structured telephone interviews with 173 people with dementia and 242 carers acting as informants, all of whom had previously participated in the IDEAL cohort. Where possible, we benchmarked responses against pre-pandemic data. RESULTS: Significant perceived negative impacts were identified in cognitive and functional skills and ability to engage in self-care and manage everyday activities, along with increased levels of loneliness and discontinuity in sense of self and a decline in perceived capability to 'live well'. Compared to pre-pandemic data, there were lower levels of pain, depression, and anxiety, higher levels of optimism, and better satisfaction with family support. There was little impact on physical health, mood, social connections and relationships, or perceptions of neighborhood characteristics. CONCLUSION: Efforts to mitigate negative impacts of pandemic-related restrictions and restore quality of life could focus on reablement to address the effects on participation in everyday activities, creating opportunities for social contact to reduce loneliness, and personalized planning to reconnect people with their pre-COVID selves. Such efforts may build on the resilience demonstrated by people with dementia and carers in coping with the pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , Dementia/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Activities of Daily Living/psychology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/psychology , Caregivers/psychology , Dementia/complications , Dementia/virology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Quality of Life
6.
PLoS One ; 16(11): e0259990, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1518365

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: COVID-19 vaccination in many countries, including England, has been prioritised primarily by age. However, people of the same age can have very different health statuses. Frailty is a commonly used metric of health and has been found to be more strongly associated with mortality than age among COVID-19 inpatients. METHODS: We compared the number of first vaccine doses administered across the 135 NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) of England to both the over 50 population and the estimated frail population in each area. Area-based frailty estimates were generated using the English Longitudinal Survey of Ageing (ELSA), a national survey of older people. We also compared the number of doses to the number of people with other risk factors associated with COVID-19: atrial fibrillation, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, learning disabilities, obesity and smoking status. RESULTS: We estimate that after 79 days of the vaccine program, across all Clinical Commissioning Group areas, the number of people who received a first vaccine per frail person ranged from 4.4 (95% CI 4.0-4.8) and 20.1 (95% CI 18.3-21.9). The prevalences of other risk factors were also poorly associated with the prevalence of vaccination across England. CONCLUSIONS: Vaccination with age-based priority created area-based inequities in the number of doses administered relative to the number of people who are frail or have other risk factors associated with COVID-19. As frailty has previously been found to be more strongly associated with mortality than age for COVID-19 inpatients, an age-based priority system may increase the risk of mortality in some areas during the vaccine roll-out period. Authorities planning COVID-19 vaccination programmes should consider the disadvantages of an age-based priority system.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Vaccination , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic , England/epidemiology , Geography , Humans , Prevalence , Risk Factors
7.
SSRN; 2021.
Preprint in English | SSRN | ID: ppcovidwho-292071

ABSTRACT

Background: Socio-economic inequalities in COVID-19 case rates have been noted worldwide. Previous studies have compared case rates over set phases. There has been no analysis of how inequalities in cases changed overtime and were shaped by national mitigation strategies (e.g. lock downs). This paper provides the first analysis of the evolution of area-level inequalities in COVID-19 cases by deprivation levels in the first wave of the pandemic (January to July 2020) in England – with a focus on the effects of the first national lockdown (March – July 2020). Methods: Weekly case rates per Middle Super Output Area (MSOA, n=4412) in England from 2020-03-15 to 2020-07-04 were obtained, and characteristics of local epidemics were calculated, e.g. the highest case rate per area. Simple linear and logistic regression analyses were employed to assess the association of these metrics with index of multiple deprivation (IMD). Local authority-level (n=309) cases were used similarly in a sensitivity analysis, as these data were available daily and extended further back in time. The impact of lockdown was assessed by comparing the cumulative case rate in the most deprived 20% of MSOAs to the least deprived 20%, for the periods before the lockdown, and by the end of lockdown. Findings: Less deprived areas began recording COVID-19 cases earlier than more deprived areas and were more likely to have peaked by March 2020. More deprived areas’ case rates grew faster and peaked higher than less deprived areas. During the first national lockdown in the UK, the relative excess in case rates in the most deprived areas increased to 130% of that of the least deprived ones. Interpretation: The pattern of disease spread in England confirm the hypothesis that initial cases of a novel infectious disease are likely to occur in more affluent communities, but more deprived areas will overtake them once national mitigation strategies begin, and bear the brunt of the total case load. The strict first national lockdown served to increase case rate inequalities in England.

8.
BMJ Open ; 11(9): e045579, 2021 09 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1406655

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To investigate whether National Early Warning Scores (NEWS/NEWS2) could contribute to COVID-19 surveillance in care homes. SETTING: 460 care home units using the same software package to collect data on residents, from 46 local authority areas in England. PARTICIPANTS: 6464 care home residents with at least one NEWS recording. EXPOSURE MEASURE: 29 656 anonymised person-level NEWS from 29 December 2019 to 20 May 2020 with component physiological measures: systolic blood pressure, respiratory rate, pulse rate, temperature and oxygen saturation. Baseline values for each measure calculated using 80th and 20th centile scores before March 2020. OUTCOME MEASURE: Cross-correlation comparison of time series with Office for National Statistics weekly reported registered deaths of care home residents where COVID-19 was the underlying cause of death, and all other deaths (excluding COVID-19) up to 10 May 2020. RESULTS: Deaths due to COVID-19 were registered from 23 March 2020 in the local authority areas represented in the study. Between 23 March 2020 and 10 May 2020, there were 5753 deaths (1532 involving COVID-19 and 4221 other causes). We observed a rise in the proportion of above-baseline NEWS beginning 16 March 2020, followed 2 weeks later by an increase in registered deaths (cross-correlation of r=0.82, p<0.05 for a 2 week lag) in corresponding local authorities. The proportion of above-baseline oxygen saturation, respiratory rate and temperature measurements also increased approximately 2 weeks before peaks in deaths. CONCLUSIONS: NEWS could contribute to COVID-19 disease surveillance in care homes during the pandemic. Oxygen saturation, respiratory rate and temperature could be prioritised as they appear to signal rise in mortality almost as well as NEWS. This study reinforces the need to collate data from care homes, to monitor and protect residents' health. Further work using individual level outcome data is needed to evaluate the role of NEWS in the early detection of resident illness.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Early Warning Score , England/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
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