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1.
J Infect Dis ; 2022 Nov 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2302153

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Household transmission studies inform how viruses spread among close contacts, but few characterize household transmission of endemic coronaviruses. METHODS: We used data collected from 223 households with school-age children participating in weekly disease surveillance over two respiratory virus seasons (December 2015 to May 2017), to describe clinical characteristics of endemic human coronaviruses (HCoV-229E, HCoV-HKU1, HCoV-NL63, HCoV-OC43) infections, and community and household transmission probabilities using a chain-binomial model correcting for missing data from untested households. RESULTS: Among 947 participants in 223 households, we observed 121 infections during the study, most commonly subtype HCoV-OC43. Higher proportions of infected children (<19y) displayed ILI symptoms than infected adults (relative risk 3.0, 95% credible interval (CrI) 1.5, 6.9). The estimated weekly household transmission probability was 9% (95% CrI 6, 13) and weekly community acquisition probability was 7% (95% CrI 5, 10). We found no evidence for differences in community or household transmission probabilities by age or symptom status. Simulations suggest that our study was underpowered to detect such differences. CONCLUSION: Our study highlights the need for large household studies to inform household transmission, the challenges in estimating household transmission probabilities from asymptomatic individuals, and implications for controlling endemic CoVs.

2.
Occup Environ Med ; 80(6): 333-338, 2023 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2292594

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To quantify contact patterns of UK home delivery drivers and identify protective measures adopted during the pandemic. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional online survey to measure the interactions of 170 UK delivery drivers during a working shift between 7 December 2020 and 31 March 2021. RESULTS: Delivery drivers had a mean number of 71.6 (95% CI 61.0 to 84.1) customer contacts per shift and 15.0 (95% CI 11.2 to 19.2) depot contacts per shift. Maintaining physical distancing with customers was more common than at delivery depots. Prolonged contact (more than 5 min) with customers was reported by 5.4% of drivers on their last shift. We found 3.0% of drivers had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 since the start of the pandemic and 16.8% of drivers had self-isolated due to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19. In addition, 5.3% (95% CI 2.3% to 10.2%) of participants reported having worked while ill with COVID-19 symptoms, or with a member of their household having a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19. CONCLUSION: Delivery drivers had a large number of face-to-face customer and depot contacts per shift compared with other working adults during this time. However, transmission risk may be curtailed as contact with customers was of short duration. Most drivers were unable to maintain physical distance with customers and at depots at all times. Usage of protective items such as face masks and hand sanitiser was widespread.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Cross-Sectional Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Pandemics/prevention & control , United Kingdom/epidemiology
3.
J R Stat Soc Ser A Stat Soc ; 185(Suppl 1): S112-S130, 2022 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2301654

ABSTRACT

The reproduction number R has been a central metric of the COVID-19 pandemic response, published weekly by the UK government and regularly reported in the media. Here, we provide a formal definition and discuss the advantages and most common misconceptions around this quantity. We consider the intuition behind different formulations of R , the complexities in its estimation (including the unavoidable lags involved), and its value compared to other indicators (e.g. the growth rate) that can be directly observed from aggregate surveillance data and react more promptly to changes in epidemic trend. As models become more sophisticated, with age and/or spatial structure, formulating R becomes increasingly complicated and inevitably model-dependent. We present some models currently used in the UK pandemic response as examples. Ultimately, limitations in the available data streams, data quality and time constraints force pragmatic choices to be made on a quantity that is an average across time, space, social structure and settings. Effectively communicating these challenges is important but often difficult in an emergency.

4.
Epidemics ; 42: 100659, 2023 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2257865

ABSTRACT

Universities provide many opportunities for the spread of infectious respiratory illnesses. Students are brought together into close proximity from all across the world and interact with one another in their accommodation, through lectures and small group teaching and in social settings. The COVID-19 global pandemic has highlighted the need for sufficient data to help determine which of these factors are important for infectious disease transmission in universities and hence control university morbidity as well as community spillover. We describe the data from a previously unpublished self-reported university survey of coughs, colds and influenza-like symptoms collected in Cambridge, UK, during winter 2007-2008. The online survey collected information on symptoms and socio-demographic, academic and lifestyle factors. There were 1076 responses, 97% from University of Cambridge students (5.7% of the total university student population), 3% from staff and <1% from other participants, reporting onset of symptoms between September 2007 and March 2008. Undergraduates are seen to report symptoms earlier in the term than postgraduates; differences in reported date of symptoms are also seen between subjects and accommodation types, although these descriptive results could be confounded by survey biases. Despite the historical and exploratory nature of the study, this is one of few recent detailed datasets of influenza-like infection in a university context and is especially valuable to share now to improve understanding of potential transmission dynamics in universities during the current COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Common Cold , Influenza, Human , Humans , Influenza, Human/epidemiology , Pandemics , Cough/epidemiology , Common Cold/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology
5.
BMJ Open ; 12(12): e059231, 2022 12 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2161849

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To quantify and characterise non-household contact and to identify the effect of shielding and isolating on contact patterns. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Anyone living in the UK was eligible to take part in the study. We recorded 5143 responses to the online questionnaire between 28 July 2020 and 14 August 2020. OUTCOME MEASURES: Our primary outcome was the daily non-household contact rate of participants. Secondary outcomes were propensity to leave home over a 7 day period, whether contacts had occurred indoors or outdoors locations visited, the furthest distance travelled from home, ability to socially distance and membership of support bubble. RESULTS: The mean rate of non-household contacts per person was 2.9 d-1. Participants attending a workplace (adjusted incidence rate ratio (aIRR) 3.33, 95% CI 3.02 to 3.66), self-employed (aIRR 1.63, 95% CI 1.43 to 1.87) or working in healthcare (aIRR 5.10, 95% CI 4.29 to 6.10) reported significantly higher non-household contact rates than those working from home. Participants self-isolating as a precaution or following Test and Trace instructions had a lower non-household contact rate than those not self-isolating (aIRR 0.58, 95% CI 0.43 to 0.79). We found limited evidence that those shielding had reduced non-household contacts compared with non-shielders. CONCLUSION: The daily rate of non-household interactions remained lower than prepandemic levels measured by other studies, suggesting continued adherence to social distancing guidelines. Individuals attending a workplace in-person or employed as healthcare professionals were less likely to maintain social distance and had a higher non-household contact rate, possibly increasing their infection risk. Shielding and self-isolating individuals required greater support to enable them to follow the government guidelines and reduce non-household contact and therefore their risk of infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Cross-Sectional Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , United Kingdom/epidemiology
6.
BMC Infect Dis ; 22(1): 556, 2022 Jun 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1962756

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 is known to transmit in hospital settings, but the contribution of infections acquired in hospitals to the epidemic at a national scale is unknown. METHODS: We used comprehensive national English datasets to determine the number of COVID-19 patients with identified hospital-acquired infections (with symptom onset > 7 days after admission and before discharge) in acute English hospitals up to August 2020. As patients may leave the hospital prior to detection of infection or have rapid symptom onset, we combined measures of the length of stay and the incubation period distribution to estimate how many hospital-acquired infections may have been missed. We used simulations to estimate the total number (identified and unidentified) of symptomatic hospital-acquired infections, as well as infections due to onward community transmission from missed hospital-acquired infections, to 31st July 2020. RESULTS: In our dataset of hospitalised COVID-19 patients in acute English hospitals with a recorded symptom onset date (n = 65,028), 7% were classified as hospital-acquired. We estimated that only 30% (range across weeks and 200 simulations: 20-41%) of symptomatic hospital-acquired infections would be identified, with up to 15% (mean, 95% range over 200 simulations: 14.1-15.8%) of cases currently classified as community-acquired COVID-19 potentially linked to hospital transmission. We estimated that 26,600 (25,900 to 27,700) individuals acquired a symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection in an acute Trust in England before 31st July 2020, resulting in 15,900 (15,200-16,400) or 20.1% (19.2-20.7%) of all identified hospitalised COVID-19 cases. CONCLUSIONS: Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to hospitalised patients likely caused approximately a fifth of identified cases of hospitalised COVID-19 in the "first wave" in England, but less than 1% of all infections in England. Using time to symptom onset from admission for inpatients as a detection method likely misses a substantial proportion (> 60%) of hospital-acquired infections.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cross Infection , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cross Infection/epidemiology , Hospitalization , Hospitals , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
7.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 3070, 2022 02 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1697478

ABSTRACT

Pandemics have the potential to incur significant health and economic impacts, and can reach a large number of countries from their origin within weeks. Early identification and containment of a newly emerged pandemic within the source country is key for minimising global impact. To identify a country's potential to control and contain a pathogen with pandemic potential, we compared the quality of a country's healthcare system against its global airline connectivity. Healthcare development was determined using three multi-factorial indices, while detailed airline passenger data was used to identify the global connectivity of all countries. Proximities of countries to a putative 'Worst Case Scenario' (extreme high-connectivity and low-healthcare development) were calculated. We found a positive relationship between a country's connectivity and healthcare metrics. We also identified countries that potentially pose the greatest risk for pandemic dissemination, notably Dominican Republic, India and Pakistan. China and Mexico, both sources of recent influenza and coronavirus pandemics were also identified as among the highest risk countries. Collectively, lower-middle and upper-middle income countries represented the greatest risk, while high income countries represented the lowest risk. Our analysis represents an alternative approach to identify countries where increased within-country disease surveillance and pandemic preparedness may benefit global health.


Subject(s)
Pandemics
8.
Infect Prev Pract ; 4(1): 100192, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1540723

ABSTRACT

Many infection prevention and control (IPC) interventions have been adopted by hospitals to limit nosocomial transmission of SARS-CoV-2. The aim of this systematic review is to identify evidence on the effectiveness of these interventions. We conducted a literature search of five databases (OVID MEDLINE, Embase, CENTRAL, COVID-19 Portfolio (pre-print), Web of Science). SWIFT ActiveScreener software was used to screen English titles and abstracts published between 1st January 2020 and 6th April 2021. Intervention studies, defined by Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care, that evaluated IPC interventions with an outcome of SARS-CoV-2 infection in either patients or healthcare workers were included. Personal protective equipment (PPE) was excluded as this intervention had been previously reviewed. Risks of bias were assessed using the Cochrane tool for randomised trials (RoB2) and non-randomized studies of interventions (ROBINS-I). From 23,156 screened articles, we identified seven articles that met the inclusion criteria, all of which evaluated interventions to prevent infections in healthcare workers and the majority of which were focused on effectiveness of prophylaxes. Due to heterogeneity in interventions, we did not conduct a meta-analysis. All agents used for prophylaxes have little to no evidence of effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 infections. We did not find any studies evaluating the effectiveness of interventions including but not limited to screening, isolation and improved ventilation. There is limited evidence from interventional studies, excluding PPE, evaluating IPC measures for SARS-CoV-2. This review calls for urgent action to implement such studies to inform policies to protect our most vulnerable populations and healthcare workers.

10.
Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci ; 376(1829): 20200276, 2021 07 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1309694

ABSTRACT

In the absence of a vaccine, severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission has been controlled by preventing person-to-person interactions via social distancing measures. In order to re-open parts of society, policy-makers need to consider how combinations of measures will affect transmission and understand the trade-offs between them. We use age-specific social contact data, together with epidemiological data, to quantify the components of the COVID-19 reproduction number. We estimate the impact of social distancing policies on the reproduction number by turning contacts on and off based on context and age. We focus on the impact of re-opening schools against a background of wider social distancing measures. We demonstrate that pre-collected social contact data can be used to provide a time-varying estimate of the reproduction number (R). We find that following lockdown (when R= 0.7, 95% CI 0.6, 0.8), opening primary schools has a modest impact on transmission (R = 0.89, 95% CI 0.82-0.97) as long as other social interactions are not increased. Opening secondary and primary schools is predicted to have a larger impact (R = 1.22, 95% CI 1.02-1.53). Contact tracing and COVID security can be used to mitigate the impact of increased social mixing to some extent; however, social distancing measures are still required to control transmission. Our approach has been widely used by policy-makers to project the impact of social distancing measures and assess the trade-offs between them. Effective social distancing, contact tracing and COVID security are required if all age groups are to return to school while controlling transmission. This article is part of the theme issue 'Modelling that shaped the early COVID-19 pandemic response in the UK'.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Models, Theoretical , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , COVID-19/virology , Communicable Disease Control/trends , Contact Tracing/trends , Humans , Physical Distancing , United Kingdom/epidemiology
11.
Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci ; 376(1829): 20200273, 2021 07 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1309691

ABSTRACT

Many countries have banned groups and gatherings as part of their response to the pandemic caused by the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. Although there are outbreak reports involving mass gatherings, the contribution to overall transmission is unknown. We used data from a survey of social contact behaviour that specifically asked about contact with groups to estimate the population attributable fraction (PAF) due to groups as the relative change in the basic reproduction number when groups are prevented. Groups of 50+ individuals accounted for 0.5% of reported contact events, and we estimate that the PAF due to groups of 50+ people is 5.4% (95% confidence interval 1.4%, 11.5%). The PAF due to groups of 20+ people is 18.9% (12.7%, 25.7%) and the PAF due to groups of 10+ is 25.2% (19.4%, 31.4%). Under normal circumstances with pre-COVID-19 contact patterns, large groups of individuals have a relatively small epidemiological impact; small- and medium-sized groups between 10 and 50 people have a larger impact on an epidemic. This article is part of the theme issue 'Modelling that shaped the early COVID-19 pandemic response in the UK'.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , Pandemics , Basic Reproduction Number/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Physical Distancing , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
12.
Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci ; 376(1829): 20200265, 2021 07 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1309685

ABSTRACT

Since it was first identified, the epidemic scale of the recently emerged novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Wuhan, China, has increased rapidly, with cases arising across China and other countries and regions. Using a transmission model, we estimate a basic reproductive number of 3.11 (95% CI, 2.39-4.13), indicating that 58-76% of transmissions must be prevented to stop increasing. We also estimate a case ascertainment rate in Wuhan of 5.0% (95% CI, 3.6-7.4). The true size of the epidemic may be significantly greater than the published case counts suggest, with our model estimating 21 022 (prediction interval, 11 090-33 490) total infections in Wuhan between 1 and 22 January. We discuss our findings in the light of more recent information. This article is part of the theme issue 'Modelling that shaped the early COVID-19 pandemic response in the UK'.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Basic Reproduction Number , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , China/epidemiology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
13.
BMJ ; 372: n579, 2021 03 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1125312

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To establish whether there is any change in mortality from infection with a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, designated a variant of concern (VOC-202012/1) in December 2020, compared with circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants. DESIGN: Matched cohort study. SETTING: Community based (pillar 2) covid-19 testing centres in the UK using the TaqPath assay (a proxy measure of VOC-202012/1 infection). PARTICIPANTS: 54 906 matched pairs of participants who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in pillar 2 between 1 October 2020 and 29 January 2021, followed-up until 12 February 2021. Participants were matched on age, sex, ethnicity, index of multiple deprivation, lower tier local authority region, and sample date of positive specimens, and differed only by detectability of the spike protein gene using the TaqPath assay. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Death within 28 days of the first positive SARS-CoV-2 test result. RESULTS: The mortality hazard ratio associated with infection with VOC-202012/1 compared with infection with previously circulating variants was 1.64 (95% confidence interval 1.32 to 2.04) in patients who tested positive for covid-19 in the community. In this comparatively low risk group, this represents an increase in deaths from 2.5 to 4.1 per 1000 detected cases. CONCLUSIONS: The probability that the risk of mortality is increased by infection with VOC-202012/01 is high. If this finding is generalisable to other populations, infection with VOC-202012/1 has the potential to cause substantial additional mortality compared with previously circulating variants. Healthcare capacity planning and national and international control policies are all impacted by this finding, with increased mortality lending weight to the argument that further coordinated and stringent measures are justified to reduce deaths from SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Proportional Hazards Models , Risk Factors , United Kingdom/epidemiology
14.
J Epidemiol Community Health ; 74(10): 861-866, 2020 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-613105

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Contact tracing is a central public health response to infectious disease outbreaks, especially in the early stages of an outbreak when specific treatments are limited. Importation of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) from China and elsewhere into the UK highlights the need to understand the impact of contact tracing as a control measure. DESIGN: Detailed survey information on social encounters from over 5800 respondents is coupled to predictive models of contact tracing and control. This is used to investigate the likely efficacy of contact tracing and the distribution of secondary cases that may go untraced. RESULTS: Taking recent estimates for COVID-19 transmission we predict that under effective contact tracing less than 1 in 6 cases will generate any subsequent untraced infections, although this comes at a high logistical burden with an average of 36 individuals traced per case. Changes to the definition of a close contact can reduce this burden, but with increased risk of untraced cases; we find that tracing using a contact definition requiring more than 4 hours of contact is unlikely to control spread. CONCLUSIONS: The current contact tracing strategy within the UK is likely to identify a sufficient proportion of infected individuals such that subsequent spread could be prevented, although the ultimate success will depend on the rapid detection of cases and isolation of contacts. Given the burden of tracing a large number of contacts to find new cases, there is the potential the system could be overwhelmed if imports of infection occur at a rapid rate.


Subject(s)
Contact Tracing , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Coronavirus , Infection Control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , China , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Humans , Models, Theoretical , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Public Health , SARS-CoV-2
16.
BMJ ; 369: m1985, 2020 May 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-343290

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To characterise the clinical features of patients admitted to hospital with coronavirus disease 2019 (covid-19) in the United Kingdom during the growth phase of the first wave of this outbreak who were enrolled in the International Severe Acute Respiratory and emerging Infections Consortium (ISARIC) World Health Organization (WHO) Clinical Characterisation Protocol UK (CCP-UK) study, and to explore risk factors associated with mortality in hospital. DESIGN: Prospective observational cohort study with rapid data gathering and near real time analysis. SETTING: 208 acute care hospitals in England, Wales, and Scotland between 6 February and 19 April 2020. A case report form developed by ISARIC and WHO was used to collect clinical data. A minimal follow-up time of two weeks (to 3 May 2020) allowed most patients to complete their hospital admission. PARTICIPANTS: 20 133 hospital inpatients with covid-19. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Admission to critical care (high dependency unit or intensive care unit) and mortality in hospital. RESULTS: The median age of patients admitted to hospital with covid-19, or with a diagnosis of covid-19 made in hospital, was 73 years (interquartile range 58-82, range 0-104). More men were admitted than women (men 60%, n=12 068; women 40%, n=8065). The median duration of symptoms before admission was 4 days (interquartile range 1-8). The commonest comorbidities were chronic cardiac disease (31%, 5469/17 702), uncomplicated diabetes (21%, 3650/17 599), non-asthmatic chronic pulmonary disease (18%, 3128/17 634), and chronic kidney disease (16%, 2830/17 506); 23% (4161/18 525) had no reported major comorbidity. Overall, 41% (8199/20 133) of patients were discharged alive, 26% (5165/20 133) died, and 34% (6769/20 133) continued to receive care at the reporting date. 17% (3001/18 183) required admission to high dependency or intensive care units; of these, 28% (826/3001) were discharged alive, 32% (958/3001) died, and 41% (1217/3001) continued to receive care at the reporting date. Of those receiving mechanical ventilation, 17% (276/1658) were discharged alive, 37% (618/1658) died, and 46% (764/1658) remained in hospital. Increasing age, male sex, and comorbidities including chronic cardiac disease, non-asthmatic chronic pulmonary disease, chronic kidney disease, liver disease and obesity were associated with higher mortality in hospital. CONCLUSIONS: ISARIC WHO CCP-UK is a large prospective cohort study of patients in hospital with covid-19. The study continues to enrol at the time of this report. In study participants, mortality was high, independent risk factors were increasing age, male sex, and chronic comorbidity, including obesity. This study has shown the importance of pandemic preparedness and the need to maintain readiness to launch research studies in response to outbreaks. STUDY REGISTRATION: ISRCTN66726260.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Adolescent , Adult , Age Factors , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Child , Child, Preschool , Comorbidity , Coronavirus Infections/mortality , Critical Care , Female , Hospitalization , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/mortality , Prospective Studies , Respiration, Artificial , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , Sex Factors , United Kingdom/epidemiology , Young Adult
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