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Euro Surveill ; 25(47)2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-976159


BackgroundVeneto was one of the Italian regions hit hardest by the early phase of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.AimThis paper describes the public health response and epidemiology of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections in the Veneto Region from 21 February to 2 April 2020.MethodsInformation on the public health response was collected from regional health authorities' official sources. Epidemiological data were extracted from a web-based regional surveillance system. The epidemic curve was represented by date of testing. Characteristics of hospitalised COVID-19 cases were described and compared to those never admitted to hospital. Age- and sex-stratified case-fatality ratios (CFRs) were calculated.ResultsKey elements of the regional public health response were thorough case-finding and contact tracing, home care for non-severe cases, creation of dedicated COVID-19 healthcare facilities and activation of sub-intensive care units for non-invasive ventilation. As at 2 April 2020, 91,345 individuals were tested for SARS-CoV-2 and 10,457 (11.4%) were positive. Testing and attack rates were 18.6 per 1,000 and 213.2 per 100,000 population, respectively. The epidemic peaked around 20 to 24 March, with case numbers declining thereafter. Hospitalised cases (n = 3,623; 34.6%) were older and more frequently male compared with never-hospitalised cases. The CFR was 5.6% overall, and was higher among males and people > 60 years of age.ConclusionIn the Veneto Region, the strict social distancing measures imposed by the Italian government were supported by thorough case finding and contact tracing, as well as well-defined roles for different levels of care.

Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Public Health , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , Child , Child, Preschool , Contact Tracing , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Female , Humans , Incidence , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Physical Distancing , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Young Adult
Sci Total Environ ; 760: 143355, 2021 Mar 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-907093


After the appearance of COVID-19 in China last December 2019, Italy was the first European country to be severely affected by the outbreak. The first diagnosis in Italy was on February 20, 2020, followed by the establishment of a light and a tight lockdown on February 23 and on March 8, 2020, respectively. The virus spread rapidly, particularly in the North of the country in the 'Padan Plain' area, known as one of the most polluted regions in Europe. Air pollution has been recently hypothesized to enhance the clinical severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection, acting through adverse effects on immunity, induction of respiratory and other chronic disease, upregulation of viral receptor ACE-2, and possible pathogen transportation as a virus carrier. We investigated the association between air pollution and subsequent COVID-19 mortality rates within two Italian regions (Veneto and Emilia-Romagna). We estimated ground-level nitrogen dioxide through its tropospheric levels using data available from the Sentinel-5P satellites of the European Space Agency Copernicus Earth Observation Programme before the lockdown. We then examined COVID-19 mortality rates in relation to the nitrogen dioxide levels at three 14-day lag points after the lockdown, namely March 8, 22 and April 5, 2020. Using a multivariable negative binomial regression model, we found an association between nitrogen dioxide and COVID-19 mortality. Although ecological data provide only weak evidence, these findings indicate an association between air pollution levels and COVID-19 severity.

Air Pollutants , Air Pollution , COVID-19 , Air Pollutants/analysis , Air Pollution/analysis , China/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Europe , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Nitrogen Dioxide , Particulate Matter/analysis , SARS-CoV-2