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1.
BMC Public Health ; 22(1): 716, 2022 Apr 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1785149

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 epidemic has differentially impacted communities across England, with regional variation in rates of confirmed cases, hospitalisations and deaths. Measurement of this burden changed substantially over the first months, as surveillance was expanded to accommodate the escalating epidemic. Laboratory confirmation was initially restricted to clinical need ("pillar 1") before expanding to community-wide symptomatics ("pillar 2"). This study aimed to ascertain whether inconsistent measurement of case data resulting from varying testing coverage could be reconciled by drawing inference from COVID-19-related deaths. METHODS: We fit a Bayesian spatio-temporal model to weekly COVID-19-related deaths per local authority (LTLA) throughout the first wave (1 January 2020-30 June 2020), adjusting for the local epidemic timing and the age, deprivation and ethnic composition of its population. We combined predictions from this model with case data under community-wide, symptomatic testing and infection prevalence estimates from the ONS infection survey, to infer the likely trajectory of infections implied by the deaths in each LTLA. RESULTS: A model including temporally- and spatially-correlated random effects was found to best accommodate the observed variation in COVID-19-related deaths, after accounting for local population characteristics. Predicted case counts under community-wide symptomatic testing suggest a total of 275,000-420,000 cases over the first wave - a median of over 100,000 additional to the total confirmed in practice under varying testing coverage. This translates to a peak incidence of around 200,000 total infections per week across England. The extent to which estimated total infections are reflected in confirmed case counts was found to vary substantially across LTLAs, ranging from 7% in Leicester to 96% in Gloucester with a median of 23%. CONCLUSIONS: Limitations in testing capacity biased the observed trajectory of COVID-19 infections throughout the first wave. Basing inference on COVID-19-related mortality and higher-coverage testing later in the time period, we could explore the extent of this bias more explicitly. Evidence points towards substantial under-representation of initial growth and peak magnitude of infections nationally, to which different parts of the country contribute unequally.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Bayes Theorem , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cost of Illness , Humans , Information Storage and Retrieval , SARS-CoV-2
2.
Euro Surveill ; 26(49)2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1566613

ABSTRACT

BackgroundPopulation-level mathematical models of outbreaks typically assume that disease transmission is not impacted by population density ('frequency-dependent') or that it increases linearly with density ('density-dependent').AimWe sought evidence for the role of population density in SARS-CoV-2 transmission.MethodsUsing COVID-19-associated mortality data from England, we fitted multiple functional forms linking density with transmission. We projected forwards beyond lockdown to ascertain the consequences of different functional forms on infection resurgence.ResultsCOVID-19-associated mortality data from England show evidence of increasing with population density until a saturating level, after adjusting for local age distribution, deprivation, proportion of ethnic minority population and proportion of key workers among the working population. Projections from a mathematical model that accounts for this observation deviate markedly from the current status quo for SARS-CoV-2 models which either assume linearity between density and transmission (30% of models) or no relationship at all (70%). Respectively, these classical model structures over- and underestimate the delay in infection resurgence following the release of lockdown.ConclusionIdentifying saturation points for given populations and including transmission terms that account for this feature will improve model accuracy and utility for the current and future pandemics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Communicable Disease Control , England/epidemiology , Humans , Minority Groups
3.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 7106, 2021 03 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1157914

ABSTRACT

The National Health Service (NHS) Pathways triage system collates data on enquiries to 111 and 999 services in England. Since the 18th of March 2020, these data have been made publically available for potential COVID-19 symptoms self-reported by members of the public. Trends in such reports over time are likely to reflect behaviour of the ongoing epidemic within the wider community, potentially capturing valuable information across a broader severity profile of cases than hospital admission data. We present a fully reproducible analysis of temporal trends in NHS Pathways reports until 14th May 2020, nationally and regionally, and demonstrate that rates of growth/decline and effective reproduction number estimated from these data may be useful in monitoring transmission. This is a particularly pressing issue as lockdown restrictions begin to be lifted and evidence of disease resurgence must be constantly reassessed. We further assess the correlation between NHS Pathways reports and a publicly available NHS dataset of COVID-19-associated deaths in England, finding that enquiries to 111/999 were strongly associated with daily deaths reported 16 days later. Our results highlight the potential of NHS Pathways as the basis of an early warning system. However, this dataset relies on self-reported symptoms, which are at risk of being severely biased. Further detailed work is therefore necessary to investigate potential behavioural issues which might otherwise explain our conclusions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , England/epidemiology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , State Medicine
4.
BMC Med ; 18(1): 270, 2020 09 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-742409

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has placed an unprecedented strain on health systems, with rapidly increasing demand for healthcare in hospitals and intensive care units (ICUs) worldwide. As the pandemic escalates, determining the resulting needs for healthcare resources (beds, staff, equipment) has become a key priority for many countries. Projecting future demand requires estimates of how long patients with COVID-19 need different levels of hospital care. METHODS: We performed a systematic review of early evidence on length of stay (LoS) of patients with COVID-19 in hospital and in ICU. We subsequently developed a method to generate LoS distributions which combines summary statistics reported in multiple studies, accounting for differences in sample sizes. Applying this approach, we provide distributions for total hospital and ICU LoS from studies in China and elsewhere, for use by the community. RESULTS: We identified 52 studies, the majority from China (46/52). Median hospital LoS ranged from 4 to 53 days within China, and 4 to 21 days outside of China, across 45 studies. ICU LoS was reported by eight studies-four each within and outside China-with median values ranging from 6 to 12 and 4 to 19 days, respectively. Our summary distributions have a median hospital LoS of 14 (IQR 10-19) days for China, compared with 5 (IQR 3-9) days outside of China. For ICU, the summary distributions are more similar (median (IQR) of 8 (5-13) days for China and 7 (4-11) days outside of China). There was a visible difference by discharge status, with patients who were discharged alive having longer LoS than those who died during their admission, but no trend associated with study date. CONCLUSION: Patients with COVID-19 in China appeared to remain in hospital for longer than elsewhere. This may be explained by differences in criteria for admission and discharge between countries, and different timing within the pandemic. In the absence of local data, the combined summary LoS distributions provided here can be used to model bed demands for contingency planning and then updated, with the novel method presented here, as more studies with aggregated statistics emerge outside China.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections , Health Care Rationing , Length of Stay , Pandemics/statistics & numerical data , Pneumonia, Viral , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Health Care Rationing/methods , Health Care Rationing/trends , Hospital Bed Capacity , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Intensive Care Units/statistics & numerical data , Length of Stay/statistics & numerical data , Length of Stay/trends , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , SARS-CoV-2
5.
Epidemics ; 32: 100395, 2020 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-245786

ABSTRACT

In this introduction to the Special Issue on methods for modelling of infectious disease epidemiology we provide a commentary and overview of the field. We suggest that the field has been through three revolutions that have focussed on specific methodological developments; disease dynamics and heterogeneity, advanced computing and inference, and complexity and application to the real-world. Infectious disease dynamics and heterogeneity dominated until the 1980s where the use of analytical models illustrated fundamental concepts such as herd immunity. The second revolution embraced the integration of data with models and the increased use of computing. From the turn of the century an emergence of novel datasets enabled improved modelling of real-world complexity. The emergence of more complex data that reflect the real-world heterogeneities in transmission resulted in the development of improved inference methods such as particle filtering. Each of these three revolutions have always kept the understanding of infectious disease spread as its motivation but have been developed through the use of new techniques, tools and the availability of data. We conclude by providing a commentary on what the next revoluition in infectious disease modelling may be.


Subject(s)
Communicable Diseases/epidemiology , Communicable Diseases/transmission , Models, Theoretical , Humans
6.
Euro Surveill ; 25(18)2020 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-196998

ABSTRACT

An exponential growth model was fitted to critical care admissions from two surveillance databases to determine likely coronavirus disease (COVID-19) case numbers, critical care admissions and epidemic growth in the United Kingdom before the national lockdown. We estimate, on 23 March, a median of 114,000 (95% credible interval (CrI): 78,000-173,000) new cases and 258 (95% CrI: 220-319) new critical care reports, with 527,000 (95% CrI: 362,000-797,000) cumulative cases since 16 February.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Coronavirus/isolation & purification , Critical Care/statistics & numerical data , Disease Notification/statistics & numerical data , Patient Admission/statistics & numerical data , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/transmission , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Disease Outbreaks , Epidemiological Monitoring , Female , Humans , Incidence , Male , Models, Theoretical , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Population Surveillance , SARS-CoV-2 , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/diagnosis , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/epidemiology , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/virology , United Kingdom/epidemiology
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