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1.
Sci Data ; 9(1): 253, 2022 05 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1873538

ABSTRACT

Experts worldwide have constantly been calling for high-quality open-access epidemiological data, given the fast-evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. Disaggregated high-level granularity records are still scant despite being essential to corroborate the effectiveness of virus containment measures and even vaccination strategies. We provide a complete dataset containing disaggregated epidemiological information about all the COVID-19 patients officially reported during the first 250 days of the COVID-19 pandemic in Bucharest (Romania). We give the sex, age, and the COVID-19 infection confirmation date for 46,440 individual cases, between March 7th and November 11th, 2020. Additionally, we provide context-wise information such as the stringency levels of the measures taken by the Romanian authorities. We procured the data from the local public health authorities and systemized it to respond to the urgent international need of comparing observational data collected from various populations. Our dataset may help understand COVID-19 transmission in highly dense urban communities, perform virus spreading simulations, ascertain the effects of non-pharmaceutical interventions, and craft better vaccination strategies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Demography , Humans , Pandemics , Romania/epidemiology , Vaccination
2.
Commun Med (Lond) ; 2: 23, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1860431

ABSTRACT

The introduction of COVID-19 vaccination passes (VPs) by many countries coincided with the Delta variant fast becoming dominant across Europe. A thorough assessment of their impact on epidemic dynamics is still lacking. Here, we propose the VAP-SIRS model that considers possibly lower restrictions for the VP holders than for the rest of the population, imperfect vaccination effectiveness against infection, rates of (re-)vaccination and waning immunity, fraction of never-vaccinated, and the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant. Some predicted epidemic scenarios for realistic parameter values yield new COVID-19 infection waves within two years, and high daily case numbers in the endemic state, even without introducing VPs and granting more freedom to their holders. Still, suitable adaptive policies can avoid unfavorable outcomes. While VP holders could initially be allowed more freedom, the lack of full vaccine effectiveness and increased transmissibility will require accelerated (re-)vaccination, wide-spread immunity surveillance, and/or minimal long-term common restrictions.

3.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-320022

ABSTRACT

The current outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an unprecedented example of how fast an infectious disease can spread around the globe (especially in urban areas) and the enormous impact it causes on public health and socio-economic activities. Despite the recent surge of investigations about different aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we still know little about the effects of city size on the propagation of this disease in urban areas. Here we investigate how the number of cases and deaths by COVID-19 scale with the population of Brazilian cities. Our results indicate small towns are proportionally more affected by COVID-19 during the initial spread of the disease, such that the cumulative numbers of cases and deaths per capita initially decrease with population size. However, during the long-term course of the pandemic, this urban advantage vanishes and large cities start to exhibit higher incidence of cases and deaths, such that every 1% rise in population is associated with a 0.14% increase in the number of fatalities per capita after about four months since the first two daily deaths. We argue that these patterns may be related to the existence of proportionally more health infrastructure in the largest cities and a lower proportion of older adults in large urban areas. We also find the initial growth rate of cases and deaths to be higher in large cities;however, these growth rates tend to decrease in large cities and to increase in small ones over time.

4.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-319137

ABSTRACT

Since the recent introduction of several viable vaccines for SARS-CoV-2, vaccination uptake has become the key factor that will determine our success in containing the COVID-19 pandemic. We argue that game theory and social network models should be used to guide decisions pertaining to vaccination programmes for the best possible results. In the months following the introduction of vaccines, their availability and the human resources needed to run the vaccination programmes have been scarce in many countries. Vaccine hesitancy is also being encountered from some sections of the general public. We emphasize that decision-making under uncertainty and imperfect information, and with only conditionally optimal outcomes, is a unique forte of established game-theoretic modelling. Therefore, we can use this approach to obtain the best framework for modelling and simulating vaccination prioritization and uptake that will be readily available to inform important policy decisions for the optimal control of the COVID-19 pandemic.

5.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-314021

ABSTRACT

Understanding the dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic is crucial for improved control and social distancing strategies. To that effect, we have employed the susceptible-exposed-infectious-recovered model, refined by contact tracing and hospitalization data from Indian provinces Kerala, Delhi, Maharashtra, and West Bengal, as well as from overall India. We have performed a sensitivity analysis to identify the most crucial input parameters, and we have calibrated the model to describe the data as best as possible. Short-term predictions reveal an increasing and worrying trend of COVID-19 cases for all four provinces and India as a whole, while long-term predictions also reveal the possibility of oscillatory dynamics. Our research thus leaves the option open that COVID-19 might become a seasonal occurrence. We also simulate and discuss the impact of media on the dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic.

6.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-312919

ABSTRACT

How will the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic develop in the coming months and years? Based on an expert survey, we examine key aspects that are likely to influence COVID-19 in Europe. The future challenges and developments will strongly depend on the progress of national and global vaccination programs, the emergence and spread of variants of concern, and public responses to nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). In the short term, many people are still unvaccinated, VOCs continue to emerge and spread, and mobility and population mixing is expected to increase over the summer. Therefore, policies that lift restrictions too much and too early risk another damaging wave. This challenge remains despite the reduced opportunities for transmission due to vaccination progress and reduced indoor mixing in the summer. In autumn 2021, increased indoor activity might accelerate the spread again, but a necessary reintroduction of NPIs might be too slow. The incidence may strongly rise again, possibly filling intensive care units, if vaccination levels are not high enough. A moderate, adaptive level of NPIs will thus remain necessary. These epidemiological aspects are put into perspective with the economic, social, and health-related consequences and thereby provide a holistic perspective on the future of COVID-19.

7.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-307742

ABSTRACT

Cooperation is essential to overcome global pandemics and other health crises, as many preventative measures require people to bear a personal cost to benefit other people or society as a whole. Wearing a face mask, for example, protects other people more than it protects oneself. In this essay, we discuss several mechanisms that are known to promote cooperation in economic games and real-world scenarios, with a special focus on message-based interventions that might be helpful to promote social distancing, mask wearing, physical hygiene, vaccine uptake, and information seeking. Lessons learned and future research ideas are offered.

8.
Lancet Reg Health Eur ; 13: 100294, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1587066

ABSTRACT

In the summer of 2021, European governments removed most NPIs after experiencing prolonged second and third waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most countries failed to achieve immunization rates high enough to avoid resurgence of the virus. Public health strategies for autumn and winter 2021 have ranged from countries aiming at low incidence by re-introducing NPIs to accepting high incidence levels. However, such high incidence strategies almost certainly lead to the very consequences that they seek to avoid: restrictions that harm people and economies. At high incidence, the important pandemic containment measure 'test-trace-isolate-support' becomes inefficient. At that point, the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and its numerous harmful consequences can likely only be controlled through restrictions. We argue that all European countries need to pursue a low incidence strategy in a coordinated manner. Such an endeavour can only be successful if it is built on open communication and trust.

9.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-295208

ABSTRACT

The introduction of COVID-19 vaccination passes (VPs) by many countries coincides with the Delta variant fast becoming dominant across Europe. A thorough assessment of their impact on epidemic dynamics is still lacking. Here, we propose the VAP-SIRS model that considers possibly lower restrictions for the VP holders than for the rest of the population, imperfect vaccination effectiveness against infection, rates of (re-)vaccination and waning immunity, fraction of never-vaccinated, and the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant. Some predicted epidemic scenarios for realistic parameter values yield new COVID-19 infection waves within two years, and high daily case numbers in the endemic state, even without introducing VPs and granting more freedom to their holders. Still, suitable adaptive policies can avoid unfavorable outcomes. While VP holders could initially be allowed more freedom, the lack of full vaccine effectiveness and increased transmissibility will require accelerated (re-)vaccination, wide-spread immunity surveillance, and/or minimal long-term common restrictions.

10.
R Soc Open Sci ; 8(11): 210682, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1522462

ABSTRACT

Air travel has been one of the hardest hit industries of COVID-19, with many flight cancellations and airport closures as a consequence. By analysing structural characteristics of the Official Aviation Guide flight data, we show that this resulted in an increased average distance between airports, and in an increased number of long-range routes. Based on our study of network robustness, we uncover that this disruption is consistent with the impact of a mixture of targeted and random global attack on the worldwide air transportation network. By considering the individual functional evolution of airports, we identify anomalous airports with high centrality but low degree, which further enables us to reveal the underlying transitions among airport-specific representations in terms of both geographical and geopolitical factors. During the evolution of the air transportation network, we also observe how the network attempted to cope by shifting centralities between different airports around the world. Since these shifts are not aligned with optimal strategies for minimizing delays and disconnects, we conclude that they are consistent with politics trumping science from the viewpoint of epidemic containment and transport.

11.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(11)2021 Nov 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1512740

ABSTRACT

Pursuing vaccinations against COVID-19 brings hope to limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and remains the most rational decision under pandemic conditions. However, it does not come without challenges, including temporary shortages in vaccine doses, significant vaccine inequity, and questions regarding the durability of vaccine-induced immunity that remain unanswered. Moreover, SARS-CoV-2 has undergone evolution with the emergence of its novel variants, characterized by enhanced transmissibility and ability to at least partially evade neutralizing antibodies. At the same time, serum antibody levels start to wane within a few months after vaccination, ultimately increasing the risk of breakthrough infections. This article discusses whether the administration of booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines is urgently needed to control the pandemic. We conclude that, at present, optimizing the immunity level of wealthy populations cannot come at the expense of low-income regions that suffer from vaccine unavailability. Although the efficiency of vaccination in protecting from infection may decrease over time, current data show that efficacy against severe disease, hospitalization, and death remains at a high level. If vaccine coverage continues at extremely low levels in various regions, including African countries, SARS-CoV-2 may sooner or later evolve into variants better adapted to evade natural and vaccine-induced immunity, ultimately bringing a global threat that, of course, includes wealthy populations. We offer key recommendations to increase vaccination rates in low-income countries. The pandemic is, by definition, a major epidemiological event and requires looking beyond one's immediate self-interest; otherwise, efforts to contain it will be futile.

12.
J Complex Netw ; 9(4): cnab026, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1434386

ABSTRACT

We analyse officially procured data detailing the COVID-19 transmission in Romania's capital Bucharest between 1st August and 31st October 2020. We apply relational hyperevent models on 19,713 individuals with 13,377 infection ties to determine to what degree the disease spread is affected by age whilst controlling for other covariate and human-to-human transmission network effects. We find that positive cases are more likely to nominate alters of similar age as their sources of infection, thus providing evidence for age homophily. We also show that the relative infection risk is negatively associated with the age of peers, such that the risk of infection increases as the average age of contacts decreases. Additionally, we find that adults between the ages 35 and 44 are pivotal in the transmission of the disease to other age groups. Our results may contribute to better controlling future COVID-19 waves, and they also point to the key age groups which may be essential for vaccination given their prominent role in the transmission of the virus.

14.
Lancet Reg Health Eur ; 8: 100185, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1331031

ABSTRACT

How will the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic develop in the coming months and years? Based on an expert survey, we examine key aspects that are likely to influence the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe. The challenges and developments will strongly depend on the progress of national and global vaccination programs, the emergence and spread of variants of concern (VOCs), and public responses to non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). In the short term, many people remain unvaccinated, VOCs continue to emerge and spread, and mobility and population mixing are expected to increase. Therefore, lifting restrictions too much and too early risk another damaging wave. This challenge remains despite the reduced opportunities for transmission given vaccination progress and reduced indoor mixing in summer 2021. In autumn 2021, increased indoor activity might accelerate the spread again, whilst a necessary reintroduction of NPIs might be too slow. The incidence may strongly rise again, possibly filling intensive care units, if vaccination levels are not high enough. A moderate, adaptive level of NPIs will thus remain necessary. These epidemiological aspects combined with economic, social, and health-related consequences provide a more holistic perspective on the future of the COVID-19 pandemic.

15.
R Soc Open Sci ; 8(6): 210429, 2021 Jun 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1266246

ABSTRACT

Since the recent introduction of several viable vaccines for SARS-CoV-2, vaccination uptake has become the key factor that will determine our success in containing the COVID-19 pandemic. We argue that game theory and social network models should be used to guide decisions pertaining to vaccination programmes for the best possible results. In the months following the introduction of vaccines, their availability and the human resources needed to run the vaccination programmes have been scarce in many countries. Vaccine hesitancy is also being encountered from some sections of the general public. We emphasize that decision-making under uncertainty and imperfect information, and with only conditionally optimal outcomes, is a unique forte of established game-theoretic modelling. Therefore, we can use this approach to obtain the best framework for modelling and simulating vaccination prioritization and uptake that will be readily available to inform important policy decisions for the optimal control of the COVID-19 pandemic.

16.
Results Phys ; 26: 104433, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1260856

ABSTRACT

We propose and study an epidemiological model on a social network that takes into account heterogeneity of the population and different vaccination strategies. In particular, we study how the COVID-19 epidemics evolves and how it is contained by different vaccination scenarios by taking into account data showing that older people, as well as individuals with comorbidities and poor metabolic health, and people coming from economically depressed areas with lower quality of life in general, are more likely to develop severe COVID-19 symptoms, and quicker loss of immunity and are therefore more prone to reinfection. Our results reveal that the structure and the spatial arrangement of subpopulations are important epidemiological determinants. In a healthier society the disease spreads more rapidly but the consequences are less disastrous as in a society with more prevalent chronic comorbidities. If individuals with poor health are segregated within one community, the epidemic outcome is less favorable. Moreover, we show that, contrary to currently widely adopted vaccination policies, prioritizing elderly and other higher-risk groups is beneficial only if the supply of vaccine is high. If, however, the vaccination availability is limited, and if the demographic distribution across the social network is homogeneous, better epidemic outcomes are achieved if healthy people are vaccinated first. Only when higher-risk groups are segregated, like in elderly homes, their prioritization will lead to lower COVID-19 related deaths. Accordingly, young and healthy individuals should view vaccine uptake as not only protecting them, but perhaps even more so protecting the more vulnerable socio-demographic groups.

19.
J Complex Netw ; 8(6): cnaa041, 2020 Dec 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1123245

ABSTRACT

Human mobility networks are crucial for a better understanding and controlling the spread of epidemics. Here, we study the impact of human mobility networks on the COVID-19 onset in 203 different countries. We use exponential random graph models to perform an analysis of the country-to-country global spread of COVID-19. We find that most countries had similar levels of virus spreading, with only a few acting as the main global transmitters. Our evidence suggests that migration and tourism inflows increase the probability of COVID-19 case importations while controlling for contiguity, continent co-location and sharing a language. Moreover, we find that air flights were the dominant mode of transportation while male and returning travellers were the main carriers. In conclusion, a mix of mobility and geography factors predicts the COVID-19 global transmission from one country to another. These findings have implications for non-pharmaceutical public health interventions and the management of transborder human circulation.

20.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 3093, 2021 02 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1107305

ABSTRACT

Social distancing is an effective strategy to mitigate the impact of infectious diseases. If sick or healthy, or both, predominantly socially distance, the epidemic curve flattens. Contact reductions may occur for different reasons during a pandemic including health-related mobility loss (severity of symptoms), duty of care for a member of a high-risk group, and forced quarantine. Other decisions to reduce contacts are of a more voluntary nature. In particular, sick people reduce contacts consciously to avoid infecting others, and healthy individuals reduce contacts in order to stay healthy. We use game theory to formalize the interaction of voluntary social distancing in a partially infected population. This improves the behavioral micro-foundations of epidemiological models, and predicts differential social distancing rates dependent on health status. The model's key predictions in terms of comparative statics are derived, which concern changes and interactions between social distancing behaviors of sick and healthy. We fit the relevant parameters for endogenous social distancing to an epidemiological model with evidence from influenza waves to provide a benchmark for an epidemic curve with endogenous social distancing. Our results suggest that spreading similar in peak and case numbers to what partial immobilization of the population produces, yet quicker to pass, could occur endogenously. Going forward, eventual social distancing orders and lockdown policies should be benchmarked against more realistic epidemic models that take endogenous social distancing into account, rather than be driven by static, and therefore unrealistic, estimates for social mixing that intrinsically overestimate spreading.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Influenza, Human/prevention & control , Physical Distancing , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Epidemics , Humans , Influenza, Human/epidemiology , Influenza, Human/virology , Pandemics , Quarantine
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