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1.
Viruses ; 14(1)2022 Jan 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1614006

ABSTRACT

In Mali, a country in West Africa, cumulative confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths among healthcare workers (HCWs) remain enigmatically low, despite a series of waves, circulation of SARS-CoV-2 variants, the country's weak healthcare system, and a general lack of adherence to public health mitigation measures. The goal of the study was to determine whether exposure is important by assessing the seroprevalence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies in HCWs. The study was conducted between November 2020 and June 2021. HCWs in the major hospitals where COVID-19 cases were being cared for in the capital city, Bamako, Mali, were recruited. During the study period, vaccinations were not yet available. The ELISA of the IgG against the spike protein was optimized and quantitatively measured. A total of 240 HCWs were enrolled in the study, of which seropositivity was observed in 147 cases (61.8%). A continuous increase in the seropositivity was observed, over time, during the study period, from 50% at the beginning to 70% at the end of the study. HCWs who provided direct care to COVID-19 patients and were potentially highly exposed did not have the highest seropositivity rate. Vulnerable HCWs with comorbidities such as obesity, diabetes, and asthma had even higher seropositivity rates at 77.8%, 75.0%, and 66.7%, respectively. Overall, HCWs had high SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence, likely reflecting a "herd" immunity level, which could be protective at some degrees. These data suggest that the low number of cases and deaths among HCWs in Mali is not due to a lack of occupational exposure to the virus but rather related to other factors that need to be investigated.

2.
IEEE Open J Eng Med Biol ; 2: 152-157, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1593588

ABSTRACT

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADxSM) Tech initiative to support the development and commercialization of novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) point-of-care test devices. The primary objective of the Clinical Studies Core (CSC) was to perform SARS-CoV-2 device studies involving diverse populations and settings. Within a few months, the infrastructure for clinical studies was developed, including a master protocol, digital study platform, data management system, single IRB, and multi-site partnerships. Data from some studies are being used to support Emergency Use Authorization of novel SARS-CoV-2 test devices. The CSC reduced the typical time and cost of developing medical devices and highlighted the impactful role of academic and NIH partnership in addressing public health needs at a rapid pace during a global pandemic. The structure, deployment, and lessons learned from this experience are widely applicable to future in vitro diagnostic device clinical studies.

3.
Vaccine ; 2021 Nov 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1537107

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: High vaccination rates are needed to protect against influenza and to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Health authorities need to know if supplementing mass communications with direct correspondence to the community would increase uptake. OBJECTIVES: The primary objective is to determine if sending a single written message directly to individuals increases influenza vaccine uptake, and a secondary objective is to identify any identified content shown to increase influenza vaccine uptake. METHODS: MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane CENTRAL, PsycINFO, and PubMed were searched for RCTs testing a single correspondence for members of the community in OECD countries to obtain influenza vaccination. A meta-analysis with inverse-variance, random-effects modelling was used to estimate a mean, weighted risk ratio effect size measure of vaccine uptake. Studies were quality assessed and analysis was undertaken to account for potential publication bias. RESULTS: Twenty-eight randomized controlled trials were included, covering 45 interventions. Of the 45 interventions, 37 (82.2%) report an increase in influenza vaccination rates. A formal meta-analysis shows that sending a single written message increased influenza vaccine uptake by 16%, relative to the no contact comparator group (RR = 1.16, 95% CI [1.13-1.20], Z = 9.25, p < .001). Analysis shows that the intervention is effective across correspondence type, age group, time, and location, and after allowing for risk of publication bias. LIMITATIONS: The generalizability of results across the OECD may be questioned. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: The implication for public health authorities organizing vaccination programs for influenza, and arguably also for COVID-19, is that sending written vaccination correspondence to members of the community is likely to increase uptake. This study is pre-registered on osf.io; details can be found at https://osf.io/98mr7.

5.
Journal of Medical Internet Research Vol 23(2), 2021, ArtID e25454 ; 23(2), 2021.
Article in English | APA PsycInfo | ID: covidwho-1451697

ABSTRACT

Background: Government responses to managing the COVID-19 pandemic may have impacted the way individuals were able to engage in physical activity. Digital platforms are a promising way to support physical activity levels and may have provided an alternative for people to maintain their activity while at home. Objective: This study aimed to examine associations between the use of digital platforms and adherence to the physical activity guidelines among Australian adults and adolescents during the COVID-19 stay-at-home restrictions in April and May 2020. Methods: A national online survey was distributed in May 2020. Participants included 1188 adults (mean age 37.4 years, SD 15.1;980/1188, 82.5% female) and 963 adolescents (mean age 16.2 years, SD 1.2;685/963, 71.1% female). Participants reported demographic characteristics, use of digital platforms for physical activity over the previous month, and adherence to moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA) and muscle-strengthening exercise (MSE) guidelines. Multilevel logistic regression models examined differences in guideline adherence between those who used digital platforms (ie, users) to support their physical activity compared to those who did not (ie, nonusers). Results: Digital platforms include streaming services for exercise (eg, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook);subscriber fitness programs, via an app or online (eg, Centr and MyFitnessPal);facilitated online live or recorded classes, via platforms such as Zoom (eg, dance, sport training, and fitness class);sport- or activity-specific apps designed by sporting organizations for participants to keep up their skills (eg, TeamBuildr);active electronic games (eg, Xbox Kinect);and/or online or digital training or racing platforms (eg, Zwift, FullGaz, and Rouvy). Overall, 39.5% (469/1188) of adults and 26.5% (255/963) of adolescents reported using digital platforms for physical activity. Among adults, MVPA (odds ratio [OR] 2.0, 95% CI 1.5-2.7), MSE (OR 3.3, 95% CI 2.5-4.5), and combined (OR 2.7, 95% CI 2.0-3.8) guideline adherence were higher among digital platform users relative to nonusers. Adolescents' MVPA (OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.3-4.3), MSE (OR 3.1, 95% CI 2.1-4.4), and combined (OR 4.3, 95% CI 2.1-9.0) guideline adherence were also higher among users of digital platforms relative to nonusers. Conclusions: Digital platform users were more likely than nonusers to meet MVPA and MSE guidelines during the COVID-19 stay-at-home restrictions in April and May 2020. Digital platforms may play a critical role in helping to support physical activity engagement when access to facilities or opportunities for physical activity outside the home are restricted. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

7.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(6): e24251, 2021 06 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1256231

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: COVID-19 transmission rates in South Asia initially were under control when governments implemented health policies aimed at controlling the pandemic such as quarantines, travel bans, and border, business, and school closures. Governments have since relaxed public health restrictions, which resulted in significant outbreaks, shifting the global epicenter of COVID-19 to India. Ongoing systematic public health surveillance of the COVID-19 pandemic is needed to inform disease prevention policy to re-establish control over the pandemic within South Asia. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to inform public health leaders about the state of the COVID-19 pandemic, how South Asia displays differences within and among countries and other global regions, and where immediate action is needed to control the outbreaks. METHODS: We extracted COVID-19 data spanning 62 days from public health registries and calculated traditional and enhanced surveillance metrics. We use an empirical difference equation to measure the daily number of cases in South Asia as a function of the prior number of cases, the level of testing, and weekly shifts in variables with a dynamic panel model that was estimated using the generalized method of moments approach by implementing the Arellano-Bond estimator in R. RESULTS: Traditional surveillance metrics indicate that South Asian countries have an alarming outbreak, with India leading the region with 310,310 new daily cases in accordance with the 7-day moving average. Enhanced surveillance indicates that while Pakistan and Bangladesh still have a high daily number of new COVID-19 cases (n=4819 and n=3878, respectively), their speed of new infections declined from April 12-25, 2021, from 2.28 to 2.18 and 3.15 to 2.35 daily new infections per 100,000 population, respectively, which suggests that their outbreaks are decreasing and that these countries are headed in the right direction. In contrast, India's speed of new infections per 100,000 population increased by 52% during the same period from 14.79 to 22.49 new cases per day per 100,000 population, which constitutes an increased outbreak. CONCLUSIONS: Relaxation of public health restrictions and the spread of novel variants fueled the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in South Asia. Public health surveillance indicates that shifts in policy and the spread of new variants correlate with a drastic expansion in the pandemic, requiring immediate action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Surveillance is needed to inform leaders whether policies help control the pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control/statistics & numerical data , Disease Outbreaks/statistics & numerical data , Health Policy , Public Health/statistics & numerical data , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Asia/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control/legislation & jurisprudence , Female , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Middle Aged , Public Health Surveillance , SARS-CoV-2
8.
PLoS One ; 16(6): e0247235, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1256018

ABSTRACT

Understanding sociodemographic, behavioral, clinical, and laboratory risk factors in patients diagnosed with COVID-19 is critically important, and requires building large and diverse COVID-19 cohorts with both retrospective information and prospective follow-up. A large Health Information Exchange (HIE) in Southeast Texas, which assembles and shares electronic health information among providers to facilitate patient care, was leveraged to identify COVID-19 patients, create a cohort, and identify risk factors for both favorable and unfavorable outcomes. The initial sample consists of 8,874 COVID-19 patients ascertained from the pandemic's onset to June 12th, 2020 and was created for the analyses shown here. We gathered demographic, lifestyle, laboratory, and clinical data from patient's encounters across the healthcare system. Tobacco use history was examined as a potential risk factor for COVID-19 fatality along with age, gender, race/ethnicity, body mass index (BMI), and number of comorbidities. Of the 8,874 patients included in the cohort, 475 died from COVID-19. Of the 5,356 patients who had information on history of tobacco use, over 26% were current or former tobacco users. Multivariable logistic regression showed that the odds of COVID-19 fatality increased among those who were older (odds ratio = 1.07, 95% CI 1.06, 1.08), male (1.91, 95% CI 1.58, 2.31), and had a history of tobacco use (2.45, 95% CI 1.93, 3.11). History of tobacco use remained significantly associated (1.65, 95% CI 1.27, 2.13) with COVID-19 fatality after adjusting for age, gender, and race/ethnicity. This effort demonstrates the impact of having an HIE to rapidly identify a cohort, aggregate sociodemographic, behavioral, clinical and laboratory data across disparate healthcare providers electronic health record (HER) systems, and follow the cohort over time. These HIE capabilities enable clinical specialists and epidemiologists to conduct outcomes analyses during the current COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Tobacco use appears to be an important risk factor for COVID-19 related death.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , Health Information Exchange/statistics & numerical data , Health Information Exchange/trends , Age Factors , Cohort Studies , Comorbidity , Healthcare Disparities , Hospitalization , Humans , Pandemics , Prospective Studies , Retrospective Studies , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Sex Factors , Smoking , Texas
9.
IEEE Open J Eng Med Biol ; 2: 138-141, 2021 Apr 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1242136

ABSTRACT

The NIH Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADxSM) Tech Program was created to speed the development, validation, and commercialization of innovative point-of-care (POC) and home-based tests, and to improve clinical laboratory tests, that can directly detect SARS-CoV-2. Leveraging the experience of the Point-of-Care Technologies Research Network, a Clinical Review Committee (CRC) composed of clinicians, bioengineers, regulatory experts, and laboratorians was created to provide structured feedback to SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic innovators. The CRC convened 53 meetings with 49 companies offering SARS-CoV-2 tests in POC and reference laboratory formats as well as collection materials. The CRC identified common barriers to device design finalization including biosafety, workflow, result reporting, regulatory requirements, sample type, supply chain, limit of detection, lack of relevant validation data, and price-performance-use mismatch. Feedback from companies participating was positive.

10.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(4): e25695, 2021 04 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1207681

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted Europe, resulting in a high caseload and deaths that varied by country. The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has breached the borders of Europe. Public health surveillance is necessary to inform policy and guide leaders. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to provide advanced surveillance metrics for COVID-19 transmission that account for weekly shifts in the pandemic, speed, acceleration, jerk, and persistence, to better understand countries at risk for explosive growth and those that are managing the pandemic effectively. METHODS: We performed a longitudinal trend analysis and extracted 62 days of COVID-19 data from public health registries. We used an empirical difference equation to measure the daily number of cases in Europe as a function of the prior number of cases, the level of testing, and weekly shift variables based on a dynamic panel model that was estimated using the generalized method of moments approach by implementing the Arellano-Bond estimator in R. RESULTS: New COVID-19 cases slightly decreased from 158,741 (week 1, January 4-10, 2021) to 152,064 (week 2, January 11-17, 2021), and cumulative cases increased from 22,507,271 (week 1) to 23,890,761 (week 2), with a weekly increase of 1,383,490 between January 10 and January 17. France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom had the largest 7-day moving averages for new cases during week 1. During week 2, the 7-day moving average for France and Spain increased. From week 1 to week 2, the speed decreased (37.72 to 33.02 per 100,000), acceleration decreased (0.39 to -0.16 per 100,000), and jerk increased (-1.30 to 1.37 per 100,000). CONCLUSIONS: The United Kingdom, Spain, and Portugal, in particular, are at risk for a rapid expansion in COVID-19 transmission. An examination of the European region suggests that there was a decrease in the COVID-19 caseload between January 4 and January 17, 2021. Unfortunately, the rates of jerk, which were negative for Europe at the beginning of the month, reversed course and became positive, despite decreases in speed and acceleration. Finally, the 7-day persistence rate was higher during week 2 than during week 1. These measures indicate that the second wave of the pandemic may be subsiding, but some countries remain at risk for new outbreaks and increased transmission in the absence of rapid policy responses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Public Health Surveillance , Europe/epidemiology , Humans , Longitudinal Studies
11.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(5): e25753, 2021 05 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1183763

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 global pandemic has disrupted structures and communities across the globe. Numerous regions of the world have had varying responses in their attempts to contain the spread of the virus. Factors such as public health policies, governance, and sociopolitical climate have led to differential levels of success at controlling the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Ultimately, a more advanced surveillance metric for COVID-19 transmission is necessary to help government systems and national leaders understand which responses have been effective and gauge where outbreaks occur. OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study is to provide advanced COVID-19 surveillance metrics for Canada at the country, province, and territory level that account for shifts in the pandemic including speed, acceleration, jerk, and persistence. Enhanced surveillance identifies risks for explosive growth and regions that have controlled outbreaks successfully. METHODS: Using a longitudinal trend analysis study design, we extracted 62 days of COVID-19 data from Canadian public health registries for 13 provinces and territories. We used an empirical difference equation to measure the daily number of cases in Canada as a function of the prior number of cases, the level of testing, and weekly shift variables based on a dynamic panel model that was estimated using the generalized method of moments approach by implementing the Arellano-Bond estimator in R. RESULTS: We compare the week of February 7-13, 2021, with the week of February 14-20, 2021. Canada, as a whole, had a decrease in speed from 8.4 daily new cases per 100,000 population to 7.5 daily new cases per 100,000 population. The persistence of new cases during the week of February 14-20 reported 7.5 cases that are a result of COVID-19 transmissions 7 days earlier. The two most populous provinces of Ontario and Quebec both experienced decreases in speed from 7.9 and 11.5 daily new cases per 100,000 population for the week of February 7-13 to speeds of 6.9 and 9.3 for the week of February 14-20, respectively. Nunavut experienced a significant increase in speed during this time, from 3.3 daily new cases per 100,000 population to 10.9 daily new cases per 100,000 population. CONCLUSIONS: Canada excelled at COVID-19 control early on in the pandemic, especially during the first COVID-19 shutdown. The second wave at the end of 2020 resulted in a resurgence of the outbreak, which has since been controlled. Enhanced surveillance identifies outbreaks and where there is the potential for explosive growth, which informs proactive health policy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Public Health Surveillance/methods , Canada/epidemiology , Humans , Longitudinal Studies
12.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(4): e25728, 2021 04 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1183762

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has placed unprecedented stress on economies, food systems, and health care resources in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Existing surveillance provides a proxy of the COVID-19 caseload and mortalities; however, these measures make it difficult to identify the dynamics of the pandemic and places where outbreaks are likely to occur. Moreover, existing surveillance techniques have failed to measure the dynamics of the pandemic. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to provide additional surveillance metrics for COVID-19 transmission to track changes in the speed, acceleration, jerk, and persistence in the transmission of the pandemic more accurately than existing metrics. METHODS: Through a longitudinal trend analysis, we extracted COVID-19 data over 45 days from public health registries. We used an empirical difference equation to monitor the daily number of cases in the LAC as a function of the prior number of cases, the level of testing, and weekly shift variables based on a dynamic panel model that was estimated using the generalized method of moments approach by implementing the Arellano-Bond estimator in R. COVID-19 transmission rates were tracked for the LAC between September 30 and October 6, 2020, and between October 7 and 13, 2020. RESULTS: The LAC saw a reduction in the speed, acceleration, and jerk for the week of October 13, 2020, compared to the week of October 6, 2020, accompanied by reductions in new cases and the 7-day moving average. For the week of October 6, 2020, Belize reported the highest acceleration and jerk, at 1.7 and 1.8, respectively, which is particularly concerning, given its high mortality rate. The Bahamas also had a high acceleration at 1.5. In total, 11 countries had a positive acceleration during the week of October 6, 2020, whereas only 6 countries had a positive acceleration for the week of October 13, 2020. The TAC displayed an overall positive trend, with a speed of 10.40, acceleration of 0.27, and jerk of -0.31, all of which decreased in the subsequent week to 9.04, -0.81, and -0.03, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Metrics such as new cases, cumulative cases, deaths, and 7-day moving averages provide a static view of the pandemic but fail to identify where and the speed at which SARS-CoV-2 infects new individuals, the rate of acceleration or deceleration of the pandemic, and weekly comparison of the rate of acceleration of the pandemic indicate impending explosive growth or control of the pandemic. Enhanced surveillance will inform policymakers and leaders in the LAC about COVID-19 outbreaks.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Public Health Surveillance , Caribbean Region/epidemiology , Humans , Latin America/epidemiology , Longitudinal Studies
13.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(4): e25695, 2021 04 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1170049

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted Europe, resulting in a high caseload and deaths that varied by country. The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has breached the borders of Europe. Public health surveillance is necessary to inform policy and guide leaders. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to provide advanced surveillance metrics for COVID-19 transmission that account for weekly shifts in the pandemic, speed, acceleration, jerk, and persistence, to better understand countries at risk for explosive growth and those that are managing the pandemic effectively. METHODS: We performed a longitudinal trend analysis and extracted 62 days of COVID-19 data from public health registries. We used an empirical difference equation to measure the daily number of cases in Europe as a function of the prior number of cases, the level of testing, and weekly shift variables based on a dynamic panel model that was estimated using the generalized method of moments approach by implementing the Arellano-Bond estimator in R. RESULTS: New COVID-19 cases slightly decreased from 158,741 (week 1, January 4-10, 2021) to 152,064 (week 2, January 11-17, 2021), and cumulative cases increased from 22,507,271 (week 1) to 23,890,761 (week 2), with a weekly increase of 1,383,490 between January 10 and January 17. France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom had the largest 7-day moving averages for new cases during week 1. During week 2, the 7-day moving average for France and Spain increased. From week 1 to week 2, the speed decreased (37.72 to 33.02 per 100,000), acceleration decreased (0.39 to -0.16 per 100,000), and jerk increased (-1.30 to 1.37 per 100,000). CONCLUSIONS: The United Kingdom, Spain, and Portugal, in particular, are at risk for a rapid expansion in COVID-19 transmission. An examination of the European region suggests that there was a decrease in the COVID-19 caseload between January 4 and January 17, 2021. Unfortunately, the rates of jerk, which were negative for Europe at the beginning of the month, reversed course and became positive, despite decreases in speed and acceleration. Finally, the 7-day persistence rate was higher during week 2 than during week 1. These measures indicate that the second wave of the pandemic may be subsiding, but some countries remain at risk for new outbreaks and increased transmission in the absence of rapid policy responses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Public Health Surveillance , Europe/epidemiology , Humans , Longitudinal Studies
14.
J Am Coll Emerg Physicians Open ; 2(2): e12406, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1159234

ABSTRACT

Background: COVID-19 has caused an unprecedented global health emergency. The strains of such a pandemic can overwhelm hospital capacity. Efficient clinical decision-making is crucial for proper healthcare resource utilization in this crisis. Using observational study data, we set out to create a predictive model that could anticipate which COVID-19 patients would likely be admitted and developed a scoring tool that could be used in the clinical setting and for population risk stratification. Methods: We retrospectively evaluated data from COVID-19 patients across a network of 6 hospitals in northeastern Pennsylvania. Analysis was limited to age, gender, and historical variables. After creating a variable importance plot, we chose a selection of the best predictors to train a logistic regression model. Variable selection was done using a lasso regularization technique. Using the coefficients in our logistic regression model, we then created a scoring tool and validated the score on a test set data. Results: A total of 6485 COVID-19 patients were included in our analysis, of which 707 were hospitalized. The biggest predictors of patient hospitalization included age, a history of hypertension, diabetes, chronic heart disease, gender, tobacco use, and chronic kidney disease. The logistic regression model demonstrated an AUC of 0.81. The coefficients for our logistic regression model were used to develop a scoring tool. Low-, intermediate-, and high-risk patients were deemed to have a 3.5%, 26%, and 38% chance of hospitalization, respectively. The best predictors of hospitalization included age (odds ratio [OR] = 1.03, confidence interval [CI] = 1.02-1.03), diabetes (OR = 2.08, CI = 1.69-2.57), hypertension (OR = 2.36, CI = 1.90-2.94), chronic heart disease (OR = 1.53, CI = 1.22-1.91), and male gender (OR = 1.32, CI = 1.11-1.58). Conclusions: Using retrospective observational data from a 6-hospital network, we determined risk factors for admission and developed a predictive model and scoring tool for use in the clinical and population setting that could anticipate admission for COVID-19 patients.

15.
J Med Internet Res ; 23(2): e25799, 2021 02 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1069699

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2, the virus that caused the global COVID-19 pandemic, has severely impacted Central Asia; in spring 2020, high numbers of cases and deaths were reported in this region. The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is currently breaching the borders of Central Asia. Public health surveillance is necessary to inform policy and guide leaders; however, existing surveillance explains past transmissions while obscuring shifts in the pandemic, increases in infection rates, and the persistence of the transmission of COVID-19. OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study is to provide enhanced surveillance metrics for SARS-CoV-2 transmission that account for weekly shifts in the pandemic, including speed, acceleration, jerk, and persistence, to better understand the risk of explosive growth in each country and which countries are managing the pandemic successfully. METHODS: Using a longitudinal trend analysis study design, we extracted 60 days of COVID-19-related data from public health registries. We used an empirical difference equation to measure the daily number of cases in the Central Asia region as a function of the prior number of cases, level of testing, and weekly shift variables based on a dynamic panel model that was estimated using the generalized method of moments approach by implementing the Arellano-Bond estimator in R. RESULTS: COVID-19 transmission rates were tracked for the weeks of September 30 to October 6 and October 7-13, 2020, in Central Asia. The region averaged 11,730 new cases per day for the first week and 14,514 for the second week. Infection rates increased across the region from 4.74 per 100,000 persons to 5.66. Russia and Turkey had the highest 7-day moving averages in the region, with 9836 and 1469, respectively, for the week of October 6 and 12,501 and 1603, respectively, for the week of October 13. Russia has the fourth highest speed in the region and continues to have positive acceleration, driving the negative trend for the entire region as the largest country by population. Armenia is experiencing explosive growth of COVID-19; its infection rate of 13.73 for the week of October 6 quickly jumped to 25.19, the highest in the region, the following week. The region overall is experiencing increases in its 7-day moving average of new cases, infection, rate, and speed, with continued positive acceleration and no sign of a reversal in sight. CONCLUSIONS: The rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic requires novel dynamic surveillance metrics in addition to static metrics to effectively analyze the pandemic trajectory and control spread. Policy makers need to know the magnitude of transmission rates, how quickly they are accelerating, and how previous cases are impacting current caseload due to a lag effect. These metrics applied to Central Asia suggest that the region is trending negatively, primarily due to minimal restrictions in Russia.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Administrative Personnel , Armenia/epidemiology , Asia, Central/epidemiology , Azerbaijan/epidemiology , Benchmarking , Cyprus/epidemiology , Denmark/epidemiology , Food Insecurity , Georgia (Republic)/epidemiology , Gibraltar/epidemiology , Humans , Kosovo/epidemiology , Longitudinal Studies , Pandemics/prevention & control , Public Health , Public Health Surveillance/methods , Registries , Republic of North Macedonia/epidemiology , Russia/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Turkey/epidemiology , Water Insecurity
16.
Biological Conservation ; 255:108973, 2021.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-1062244

ABSTRACT

Emerging infectious diseases are on the rise in many different taxa, including, among others, the amphibian batrachochytrids, the snake fungal disease and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus, responsible for Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in mammals. Following the onset of the pandemic linked to COVID-19, eastern Asia has shown strong leadership, taking actions to regulate the trade of potential vector species in several regions. These actions were taken in response to an increase in public awareness, and the need for a quick reaction to mitigate against further pandemics. However, trade restrictions rarely affect amphibians, despite the risk of pathogen transmission, directly, or indirectly through habitat destruction and the loss of vector consumption. Thus, species that help alleviate the risk of zoonoses or provide biological control are not protected. Hence, in view of the global amphibian decline and the risk of zoonoses, we support the current wildlife trade regulations and support measures to safeguard wildlife from overexploitation. The current period of regulation overhaul should be used as a springboard for amphibian conservation. To mitigate risks, we suggest the following stipulations specifically for amphibians. I) Restrictions to amphibian farming in eastern Asia, in relation to pathogen transmission and the establishment of invasive species. II) Regulation of the amphibian pet trade, with a focus on potential vector species. III) Expansion of the wildlife trade ban, to limit the wildlife-human-pet interface. The resulting actions will benefit both human and wildlife populations, as they will lead to a decrease in the risk of zoonoses and better protection of the environment. Significance statement There is an increasing number of emerging infectious diseases impacting all species, including amphibians, reptiles and mammals. The latest threat to humans is the virus responsible for COVID-19, and the resulting pandemic. Countries in eastern Asia have taken steps to regulate wildlife trade and prevent further zoonoses thereby decreasing the risk of pathogens arising from wild species. However, as amphibians are generally excluded from regulations we support specific trade restrictions: I) Restrictions to amphibian farming;II) regulation of the amphibian pet trade;III) expansion of the wildlife trade ban. These restrictions will benefit both human and wildlife populations by decreasing the risks of zoonoses and better protecting the environment.

17.
J Med Internet Res ; 23(2): e25454, 2021 02 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1058365

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound global impact on governments, health care systems, economies, and populations around the world. Within the East Asia and Pacific region, some countries have mitigated the spread of the novel coronavirus effectively and largely avoided severe negative consequences, while others still struggle with containment. As the second wave reaches East Asia and the Pacific, it becomes more evident that additional SARS-CoV-2 surveillance is needed to track recent shifts, rates of increase, and persistence associated with the pandemic. OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study is to provide advanced surveillance metrics for COVID-19 transmission that account for speed, acceleration, jerk, persistence, and weekly shifts, to better understand country risk for explosive growth and those countries who are managing the pandemic successfully. Existing surveillance coupled with our dynamic metrics of transmission will inform health policy to control the COVID-19 pandemic until an effective vaccine is developed. We provide novel indicators to measure disease transmission. METHODS: Using a longitudinal trend analysis study design, we extracted 330 days of COVID-19 data from public health registries. We used an empirical difference equation to measure the daily number of cases in East Asia and the Pacific as a function of the prior number of cases, the level of testing, and weekly shift variables based on a dynamic panel model that was estimated using the generalized method of moments approach by implementing the Arellano-Bond estimator in R. RESULTS: The standard surveillance metrics for Indonesia, the Philippines, and Myanmar were concerning as they had the largest new caseloads at 4301, 2588, and 1387, respectively. When looking at the acceleration of new COVID-19 infections, we found that French Polynesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines had rates at 3.17, 0.22, and 0.06 per 100,000. These three countries also ranked highest in terms of jerk at 15.45, 0.10, and 0.04, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Two of the most populous countries in East Asia and the Pacific, Indonesia and the Philippines, have alarming surveillance metrics. These two countries rank highest in new infections in the region. The highest rates of speed, acceleration, and positive upwards jerk belong to French Polynesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, and may result in explosive growth. While all countries in East Asia and the Pacific need to be cautious about reopening their countries since outbreaks are likely to occur in the second wave of COVID-19, the country of greatest concern is the Philippines. Based on standard and enhanced surveillance, the Philippines has not gained control of the COVID-19 epidemic, which is particularly troubling because the country ranks 4th in population in the region. Without extreme and rigid social distancing, quarantines, hygiene, and masking to reverse trends, the Philippines will remain on the global top 5 list of worst COVID-19 outbreaks resulting in high morbidity and mortality. The second wave will only exacerbate existing conditions and increase COVID-19 transmissions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Asia, Southeastern/epidemiology , Australasia/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Far East/epidemiology , Health Policy , Humans , Indonesia/epidemiology , Longitudinal Studies , Malaysia/epidemiology , Pandemics , Philippines/epidemiology , Polynesia/epidemiology , Public Health , Public Health Surveillance , Registries , SARS-CoV-2
18.
J Med Internet Res ; 23(2): e25454, 2021 02 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1034874

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound global impact on governments, health care systems, economies, and populations around the world. Within the East Asia and Pacific region, some countries have mitigated the spread of the novel coronavirus effectively and largely avoided severe negative consequences, while others still struggle with containment. As the second wave reaches East Asia and the Pacific, it becomes more evident that additional SARS-CoV-2 surveillance is needed to track recent shifts, rates of increase, and persistence associated with the pandemic. OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study is to provide advanced surveillance metrics for COVID-19 transmission that account for speed, acceleration, jerk, persistence, and weekly shifts, to better understand country risk for explosive growth and those countries who are managing the pandemic successfully. Existing surveillance coupled with our dynamic metrics of transmission will inform health policy to control the COVID-19 pandemic until an effective vaccine is developed. We provide novel indicators to measure disease transmission. METHODS: Using a longitudinal trend analysis study design, we extracted 330 days of COVID-19 data from public health registries. We used an empirical difference equation to measure the daily number of cases in East Asia and the Pacific as a function of the prior number of cases, the level of testing, and weekly shift variables based on a dynamic panel model that was estimated using the generalized method of moments approach by implementing the Arellano-Bond estimator in R. RESULTS: The standard surveillance metrics for Indonesia, the Philippines, and Myanmar were concerning as they had the largest new caseloads at 4301, 2588, and 1387, respectively. When looking at the acceleration of new COVID-19 infections, we found that French Polynesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines had rates at 3.17, 0.22, and 0.06 per 100,000. These three countries also ranked highest in terms of jerk at 15.45, 0.10, and 0.04, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Two of the most populous countries in East Asia and the Pacific, Indonesia and the Philippines, have alarming surveillance metrics. These two countries rank highest in new infections in the region. The highest rates of speed, acceleration, and positive upwards jerk belong to French Polynesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, and may result in explosive growth. While all countries in East Asia and the Pacific need to be cautious about reopening their countries since outbreaks are likely to occur in the second wave of COVID-19, the country of greatest concern is the Philippines. Based on standard and enhanced surveillance, the Philippines has not gained control of the COVID-19 epidemic, which is particularly troubling because the country ranks 4th in population in the region. Without extreme and rigid social distancing, quarantines, hygiene, and masking to reverse trends, the Philippines will remain on the global top 5 list of worst COVID-19 outbreaks resulting in high morbidity and mortality. The second wave will only exacerbate existing conditions and increase COVID-19 transmissions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Asia, Southeastern/epidemiology , Australasia/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Far East/epidemiology , Health Policy , Humans , Indonesia/epidemiology , Longitudinal Studies , Malaysia/epidemiology , Pandemics , Philippines/epidemiology , Polynesia/epidemiology , Public Health , Public Health Surveillance , Registries , SARS-CoV-2
19.
J Am Med Inform Assoc ; 27(11): 1721-1726, 2020 11 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1024117

ABSTRACT

Global pandemics call for large and diverse healthcare data to study various risk factors, treatment options, and disease progression patterns. Despite the enormous efforts of many large data consortium initiatives, scientific community still lacks a secure and privacy-preserving infrastructure to support auditable data sharing and facilitate automated and legally compliant federated analysis on an international scale. Existing health informatics systems do not incorporate the latest progress in modern security and federated machine learning algorithms, which are poised to offer solutions. An international group of passionate researchers came together with a joint mission to solve the problem with our finest models and tools. The SCOR Consortium has developed a ready-to-deploy secure infrastructure using world-class privacy and security technologies to reconcile the privacy/utility conflicts. We hope our effort will make a change and accelerate research in future pandemics with broad and diverse samples on an international scale.


Subject(s)
Biomedical Research , Computer Security , Coronavirus Infections , Information Dissemination , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , Privacy , COVID-19 , Humans , Information Dissemination/ethics , Internationality , Machine Learning
20.
J Med Internet Res ; 22(12): e24286, 2020 12 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-978988

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The emergence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has led to a global pandemic. The United States has been severely affected, accounting for the most COVID-19 cases and deaths worldwide. Without a coordinated national public health plan informed by surveillance with actionable metrics, the United States has been ineffective at preventing and mitigating the escalating COVID-19 pandemic. Existing surveillance has incomplete ascertainment and is limited by the use of standard surveillance metrics. Although many COVID-19 data sources track infection rates, informing prevention requires capturing the relevant dynamics of the pandemic. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to develop dynamic metrics for public health surveillance that can inform worldwide COVID-19 prevention efforts. Advanced surveillance techniques are essential to inform public health decision making and to identify where and when corrective action is required to prevent outbreaks. METHODS: Using a longitudinal trend analysis study design, we extracted COVID-19 data from global public health registries. We used an empirical difference equation to measure daily case numbers for our use case in 50 US states and the District of Colombia as a function of the prior number of cases, the level of testing, and weekly shift variables based on a dynamic panel model that was estimated using the generalized method of moments approach by implementing the Arellano-Bond estimator in R. RESULTS: Examination of the United States and state data demonstrated that most US states are experiencing outbreaks as measured by these new metrics of speed, acceleration, jerk, and persistence. Larger US states have high COVID-19 caseloads as a function of population size, density, and deficits in adherence to public health guidelines early in the epidemic, and other states have alarming rates of speed, acceleration, jerk, and 7-day persistence in novel infections. North and South Dakota have had the highest rates of COVID-19 transmission combined with positive acceleration, jerk, and 7-day persistence. Wisconsin and Illinois also have alarming indicators and already lead the nation in daily new COVID-19 infections. As the United States enters its third wave of COVID-19, all 50 states and the District of Colombia have positive rates of speed between 7.58 (Hawaii) and 175.01 (North Dakota), and persistence, ranging from 4.44 (Vermont) to 195.35 (North Dakota) new infections per 100,000 people. CONCLUSIONS: Standard surveillance techniques such as daily and cumulative infections and deaths are helpful but only provide a static view of what has already occurred in the pandemic and are less helpful in prevention. Public health policy that is informed by dynamic surveillance can shift the country from reacting to COVID-19 transmissions to being proactive and taking corrective action when indicators of speed, acceleration, jerk, and persistence remain positive week over week. Implicit within our dynamic surveillance is an early warning system that indicates when there is problematic growth in COVID-19 transmissions as well as signals when growth will become explosive without action. A public health approach that focuses on prevention can prevent major outbreaks in addition to endorsing effective public health policies. Moreover, subnational analyses on the dynamics of the pandemic allow us to zero in on where transmissions are increasing, meaning corrective action can be applied with precision in problematic areas. Dynamic public health surveillance can inform specific geographies where quarantines are necessary while preserving the economy in other US areas.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , Public Health Surveillance , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/mortality , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pandemics/statistics & numerical data , Public Health , Registries , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology
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