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1.
JAMA Pediatr ; 2022 Jan 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1635814

ABSTRACT

Importance: Little is known about COVID-19 outcomes among children and adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa, where preexisting comorbidities are prevalent. Objective: To assess the clinical outcomes and factors associated with outcomes among children and adolescents hospitalized with COVID-19 in 6 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cohort study was a retrospective record review of data from 25 hospitals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda from March 1 to December 31, 2020, and included 469 hospitalized patients aged 0 to 19 years with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Exposures: Age, sex, preexisting comorbidities, and region of residence. Main Outcomes and Measures: An ordinal primary outcome scale was used comprising 5 categories: (1) hospitalization without oxygen supplementation, (2) hospitalization with oxygen supplementation, (3) ICU admission, (4) invasive mechanical ventilation, and (5) death. The secondary outcome was length of hospital stay. Results: Among 469 hospitalized children and adolescents, the median age was 5.9 years (IQR, 1.6-11.1 years); 245 patients (52.4%) were male, and 115 (24.5%) had comorbidities. A total of 39 patients (8.3%) were from central Africa, 172 (36.7%) from eastern Africa, 208 (44.3%) from southern Africa, and 50 (10.7%) from western Africa. Eighteen patients had suspected (n = 6) or confirmed (n = 12) multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. Thirty-nine patients (8.3%) died, including 22 of 69 patients (31.9%) who required intensive care unit admission and 4 of 18 patients (22.2%) with suspected or confirmed multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. Among 468 patients, 418 (89.3%) were discharged, and 16 (3.4%) remained hospitalized. The likelihood of outcomes with higher vs lower severity among children younger than 1 year expressed as adjusted odds ratio (aOR) was 4.89 (95% CI, 1.44-16.61) times higher than that of adolescents aged 15 to 19 years. The presence of hypertension (aOR, 5.91; 95% CI, 1.89-18.50), chronic lung disease (aOR, 2.97; 95% CI, 1.65-5.37), or a hematological disorder (aOR, 3.10; 95% CI, 1.04-9.24) was associated with severe outcomes. Age younger than 1 year (adjusted subdistribution hazard ratio [asHR], 0.48; 95% CI, 0.27-0.87), the presence of 1 comorbidity (asHR, 0.54; 95% CI, 0.40-0.72), and the presence of 2 or more comorbidities (asHR, 0.26; 95% CI, 0.18-0.38) were associated with reduced rates of hospital discharge. Conclusions and Relevance: In this cohort study of children and adolescents hospitalized with COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa, high rates of morbidity and mortality were observed among infants and patients with noncommunicable disease comorbidities, suggesting that COVID-19 vaccination and therapeutic interventions are needed for young populations in this region.

2.
JCI Insight ; 2021 Dec 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1556107

ABSTRACT

Isolation guidelines for severe acute respiratory syndrome-cornavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) are largely derived from data collected prior to emergence of the delta variant. We followed a cohort of ambulatory patients with post-vaccination breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infections with longitudinal collection of nasal swabs for SARS-CoV-2 viral load quantification, whole genome sequencing, and viral culture. All delta variant infections (10/10, 100%) in our cohort were symptomatic, compared with 64% (9/14) of non-delta variant infections. Symptomatic delta variant breakthrough infections were characterized by higher initial viral load, longer duration of virologic shedding by PCR, greater likelihood of replication-competent virus at early stages of infection, and longer duration of culturable virus compared to non-delta variants. The duration of time since vaccination was also correlated with both duration of PCR positivity and duration of detection of replication-competent virus. Nonetheless, no individuals with symptomatic delta variant infections had replication-competent virus by day 10 after symptom onset or 24 hours after resolution of symptoms. These data support current US Center for Disease Control isolation guidelines and reinforce the importance of prompt testing and isolation among symptomatic individuals with delta variant breakthrough infections. Additional data are needed to evaluate these relationships among asymptomatic and more severe delta variant breakthrough infections.

3.
Open Forum Infect Dis ; 8(11): ofab318, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1526176
4.
Non-conventional in English | MEDLINE, Grey literature | ID: grc-750467

ABSTRACT

Background Healthcare resource constraints in low and middle-income countries necessitate selection of cost-effective public health interventions to address COVID-19. Methods We developed a dynamic COVID-19 microsimulation model to evaluate clinical and economic outcomes and cost-effectiveness of epidemic control strategies in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Interventions assessed were Healthcare Testing (HT), where diagnostic testing is performed only for those presenting to healthcare centres;Contact Tracing (CT) in households of cases;Isolation Centres (IC), for cases not requiring hospitalisation;community health worker-led Mass Symptom Screening and diagnostic testing for symptomatic individuals (MS);and Quarantine Centres (QC), for contacts who test negative. Given uncertainties about epidemic dynamics in South Africa, we evaluated two main epidemic scenarios over 360 days, with effective reproduction numbers (R e ) of 1.5 and 1.2. We compared HT, HT+CT, HT+CT+IC, HT+CT+IC+MS, HT+CT+IC+QC, and HT+CT+IC+MS+QC, considering strategies with incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) <US$1,290/year-of-life saved (YLS) to be cost-effective. Findings With R e 1.5, HT resulted in the most COVID-19 deaths and lowest costs over 360 days. Compared with HT, HT+CT+IC+MS reduced mortality by 76%, increased costs by 16%, and was cost-effective (ICER $350/YLS). HT+CT+IC+MS+QC provided the greatest reduction in mortality, but increased costs by 95% compared with HT+CT+IC+MS and was not cost-effective (ICER $8,000/YLS). With R e 1.2, HT+CT+IC+MS was the least costly strategy, and HT+CT+IC+MS+QC was not cost-effective (ICER $294,320/YLS). Interpretation In South Africa, a strategy of household contact tracing, isolation, and mass symptom screening would substantially reduce COVID-19 mortality and be cost-effective. Adding quarantine centres for COVID-19 contacts is not cost-effective.

5.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(9): e2908-e2917, 2021 11 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1501002

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: We projected the clinical and economic impact of alternative testing strategies on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) incidence and mortality in Massachusetts using a microsimulation model. METHODS: We compared 4 testing strategies: (1) hospitalized: polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing only for patients with severe/critical symptoms warranting hospitalization; (2) symptomatic: PCR for any COVID-19-consistent symptoms, with self-isolation if positive; (3) symptomatic + asymptomatic once: symptomatic and 1-time PCR for the entire population; and (4) symptomatic + asymptomatic monthly: symptomatic with monthly retesting for the entire population. We examined effective reproduction numbers (Re = 0.9-2.0) at which policy conclusions would change. We assumed homogeneous mixing among the Massachusetts population (excluding those residing in long-term care facilities). We used published data on disease progression and mortality, transmission, PCR sensitivity/specificity (70%/100%), and costs. Model-projected outcomes included infections, deaths, tests performed, hospital-days, and costs over 180 days, as well as incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs, $/quality-adjusted life-year [QALY]). RESULTS: At Re = 0.9, symptomatic + asymptomatic monthly vs hospitalized resulted in a 64% reduction in infections and a 46% reduction in deaths, but required >66-fold more tests/day with 5-fold higher costs. Symptomatic + asymptomatic monthly had an ICER <$100 000/QALY only when Re ≥1.6; when test cost was ≤$3, every 14-day testing was cost-effective at all Re examined. CONCLUSIONS: Testing people with any COVID-19-consistent symptoms would be cost-saving compared to testing only those whose symptoms warrant hospital care. Expanding PCR testing to asymptomatic people would decrease infections, deaths, and hospitalizations. Despite modest sensitivity, low-cost, repeat screening of the entire population could be cost-effective in all epidemic settings.

6.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 6238, 2021 10 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1493104

ABSTRACT

Low- and middle-income countries are implementing COVID-19 vaccination strategies in light of varying vaccine efficacies and costs, supply shortages, and resource constraints. Here, we use a microsimulation model to evaluate clinical outcomes and cost-effectiveness of a COVID-19 vaccination program in South Africa. We varied vaccination coverage, pace, acceptance, effectiveness, and cost as well as epidemic dynamics. Providing vaccines to at least 40% of the population and prioritizing vaccine rollout prevented >9 million infections and >73,000 deaths and reduced costs due to fewer hospitalizations. Model results were most sensitive to assumptions about epidemic growth and prevalence of prior immunity to SARS-CoV-2, though the vaccination program still provided high value and decreased both deaths and health care costs across a wide range of assumptions. Vaccination program implementation factors, including prompt procurement, distribution, and rollout, are likely more influential than characteristics of the vaccine itself in maximizing public health benefits and economic efficiency.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , COVID-19/prevention & control , Cost-Benefit Analysis/methods , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , South Africa
7.
BMC Infect Dis ; 21(1): 928, 2021 Sep 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1403222

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: South Africa implemented rapid and strict physical distancing regulations to minimize SARS-CoV-2 epidemic spread. Evidence on the impact of such measures on interpersonal contact in rural and lower-income settings is limited. METHODS: We compared population-representative social contact surveys conducted in the same rural KwaZulu-Natal location once in 2019 and twice in mid-2020. Respondents reported characteristics of physical and conversational ('close interaction') contacts over 24 hours. We built age-mixing matrices and estimated the proportional change in the SARS-CoV-2 reproduction number (R0). Respondents also reported counts of others present at locations visited and transport used, from which we evaluated change in potential exposure to airborne infection due to shared indoor space ('shared air'). RESULTS: Respondents in March-December 2019 (n = 1704) reported a mean of 7.4 close interaction contacts and 196 shared air person-hours beyond their homes. Respondents in June-July 2020 (n = 216), as the epidemic peaked locally, reported 4.1 close interaction contacts and 21 shared air person-hours outside their home, with significant declines in others' homes and public spaces. Adults aged over 50 had fewer close contacts with others over 50, but little change in contact with 15-29 year olds, reflecting ongoing contact within multigenerational households. We estimate potential R0 fell by 42% (95% plausible range 14-59%) between 2019 and June-July 2020. CONCLUSIONS: Extra-household social contact fell substantially following imposition of Covid-19 distancing regulations in rural South Africa. Ongoing contact within intergenerational households highlighted a potential limitation of social distancing measures in protecting older adults.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Epidemics , Aged , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Physical Distancing , SARS-CoV-2 , South Africa/epidemiology
8.
JAMA Intern Med ; 181(10): 1315-1321, 2021 10 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1347379

ABSTRACT

Importance: COVID-19 incidence and mortality are higher among incarcerated persons than in the general US population, but the extent to which prison crowding contributes to their COVID-19 risk is unknown. Objective: To estimate the associations between prison crowding, community COVID-19 transmission, and prison incidence rates of COVID-19. Design, Setting, and Participants: This was a longitudinal ecological study among all incarcerated persons in 14 Massachusetts state prisons between April 21, 2020, and January 11, 2021. Exposures: The primary exposure of interest was prison crowding, measured by (1) the size of the incarcerated population as a percentage of the prison's design capacity and (2) the percentage of incarcerated persons housed in single-cell units. The analysis included the weekly COVID-19 incidence in the county where each prison is located as a covariate. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was the weekly COVID-19 incidence rate as determined by positive SARS-CoV-2 tests among incarcerated persons at each prison over discrete 1-week increments. Results: There was on average 6876 people incarcerated in 14 prisons during the study period. The median level of crowding during the observation period ranged from 25% to 155% of design capacity. COVID-19 incidence was significantly higher in prisons where the incarcerated population was a larger percentage of the prison's design capacity (incidence rate ratio [IRR] per 10-percentage-point difference, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.03-1.27). COVID-19 incidence was lower in prisons where a higher proportion of incarcerated people were housed in single-cell units (IRR for each 10-percentage-point increase in single-cell units, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.73-0.93). COVID-19 transmission in the surrounding county was consistently associated with COVID-19 incidence in prisons (IRR [for each increase of 10 cases per 100 000 person-weeks in the community], 1.06; 95% CI, 1.05-1.08). Conclusions and Relevance: This longitudinal ecological study found that within 14 Massachusetts state prisons, increased crowding was associated with increased incidence rates of COVID-19. Researchers and policy makers should explore strategies that reduce prison crowding, such as decarceration, as potential ways to mitigate COVID-19 morbidity and mortality among incarcerated persons.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Crowding , Prisons/statistics & numerical data , Adult , COVID-19/diagnosis , Female , Humans , Incidence , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Massachusetts , Retrospective Studies
9.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2021 Aug 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1345718

ABSTRACT

The impact of COVID19 vaccination on viral characteristics of breakthrough infections is unknown. In this prospective cohort study, incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection decreased following vaccination. Although asymptomatic positive tests were observed following vaccination, higher cycle thresholds, repeat negative tests and inability to culture virus raises questions about their clinical significance.

10.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(Suppl 2): S120-S126, 2021 07 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1334200

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Weeks after issuing social distancing orders to suppress severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission and reduce growth in cases of severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), all US states and the District of Columbia partially or fully relaxed these measures. METHODS: We identified all statewide social distancing measures that were implemented and/or relaxed in the United States between 10 March and 15 July 2020, triangulating data from state government and third-party sources. Using segmented linear regression, we estimated the extent to which relaxation of social distancing affected epidemic control, as indicated by the time-varying, state-specific effective reproduction number (Rt). RESULTS: In the 8 weeks prior to relaxation, mean Rt declined by 0.012 units per day (95% confidence interval [CI], -.013 to -.012), and 46/51 jurisdictions achieved Rt < 1.0 by the date of relaxation. After relaxation of social distancing, Rt reversed course and began increasing by 0.007 units per day (95% CI, .006-.007), reaching a mean Rt of 1.16. Eight weeks later, the mean Rt was 1.16 and only 9/51 jurisdictions were maintaining an Rt < 1.0. Parallel models showed similar reversals in the growth of COVID-19 cases and deaths. Indicators often used to motivate relaxation at the time of relaxation (eg, test positivity rate <5%) predicted greater postrelaxation epidemic growth. CONCLUSIONS: We detected an immediate and significant reversal in SARS-CoV-2 epidemic suppression after relaxation of social distancing measures across the United States. Premature relaxation of social distancing measures undermined the country's ability to control the disease burden associated with COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Basic Reproduction Number , District of Columbia , Humans , Physical Distancing , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology
11.
Open Forum Infect Dis ; 8(7): ofab275, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1309622

ABSTRACT

Background: Obesity has been linked to severe clinical outcomes among people who are hospitalized with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We tested the hypothesis that visceral adipose tissue (VAT) is associated with severe outcomes in patients hospitalized with COVID-19, independent of body mass index (BMI). Methods: We analyzed data from the Massachusetts General Hospital COVID-19 Data Registry, which included patients admitted with polymerase chain reaction-confirmed severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection from March 11 to May 4, 2020. We used a validated, fully automated artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm to quantify VAT from computed tomography (CT) scans during or before the hospital admission. VAT quantification took an average of 2 ± 0.5 seconds per patient. We dichotomized VAT as high and low at a threshold of ≥100 cm2 and used Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox proportional hazards regression to assess the relationship between VAT and death or intubation over 28 days, adjusting for age, sex, race, BMI, and diabetes status. Results: A total of 378 participants had CT imaging. Kaplan-Meier curves showed that participants with high VAT had a greater risk of the outcome compared with those with low VAT (P < .005), especially in those with BMI <30 kg/m2 (P < .005). In multivariable models, the adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) for high vs low VAT was unchanged (aHR, 1.97; 95% CI, 1.24-3.09), whereas BMI was no longer significant (aHR for obese vs normal BMI, 1.14; 95% CI, 0.71-1.82). Conclusions: High VAT is associated with a greater risk of severe disease or death in COVID-19 and can offer more precise information to risk-stratify individuals beyond BMI. AI offers a promising approach to routinely ascertain VAT and improve clinical risk prediction in COVID-19.

12.
Lancet Glob Health ; 9(7): e967-e976, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1271838

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: There has been remarkable progress in the treatment of HIV throughout sub-Saharan Africa, but there are few data on the prevalence and overlap of other significant causes of disease in HIV endemic populations. Our aim was to identify the prevalence and overlap of infectious and non-communicable diseases in such a population in rural South Africa. METHODS: We did a cross-sectional study of eligible adolescents and adults from the Africa Health Research Institute demographic surveillance area in the uMkhanyakude district of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The participants, who were 15 years or older, were invited to participate at a mobile health camp. Medical history for HIV, tuberculosis, hypertension, and diabetes was established through a questionnaire. Blood pressure measurements, chest x-rays, and tests of blood and sputum were taken to estimate the population prevalence and geospatial distribution of HIV, active and lifetime tuberculosis, elevated blood glucose, elevated blood pressure, and combinations of these. FINDINGS: 17 118 adolescents and adults were recruited from May 25, 2018, to Nov 28, 2019, and assessed. Overall, 52·1% (95% CI 51·3-52·9) had at least one active disease. 34·2% (33·5-34·9) had HIV, 1·4% (1·2-1·6) had active tuberculosis, 21·8% (21·2-22·4) had lifetime tuberculosis, 8·5% (8·1-8·9) had elevated blood glucose, and 23·0% (22·4-23·6) had elevated blood pressure. Appropriate treatment and optimal disease control was highest for HIV (78·1%), and lower for elevated blood pressure (42·5%), active tuberculosis (29·6%), and elevated blood glucose (7·1%). Disease prevalence differed notably by sex, across age groups, and geospatially: men had a higher prevalence of active and lifetime tuberculosis, whereas women had a substantially high prevalence of HIV at 30-49 years and an increasing prevalence of multiple and poorly controlled non-communicable diseases when older than 50 years. INTERPRETATION: We found a convergence of infectious and non-communicable disease epidemics in a rural South African population, with HIV well treated relative to all other diseases, but tuberculosis, elevated blood glucose, and elevated blood pressure poorly diagnosed and treated. A public health response that expands the successes of the HIV testing and treatment programme to provide multidisease care targeted to specific populations is required to optimise health in such settings in sub-Saharan Africa. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the South African Department of Science and Innovation, South African Medical Research Council, and South African Population Research Infrastructure Network. TRANSLATION: For the isiZulu translation of the abstract see Supplementary Materials section.


Subject(s)
Diabetes Mellitus/epidemiology , Epidemics , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Hypertension/epidemiology , Rural Health/statistics & numerical data , Tuberculosis/epidemiology , Adolescent , Adult , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Multimorbidity , Prevalence , South Africa/epidemiology
13.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(5): e26073, 2021 05 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1249617

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In March 2020, South Africa implemented strict nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to contain the spread of COVID-19. Over the subsequent 5 months, NPI policies were eased in stages according to a national strategy. COVID-19 spread throughout the country heterogeneously; the disease reached rural areas by July and case numbers peaked from July to August. A second COVID-19 wave began in late 2020. Data on the impact of NPI policies on social and economic well-being and access to health care are limited. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to determine how rural residents in three South African provinces changed their behaviors during the first COVID-19 epidemic wave. METHODS: The South African Population Research Infrastructure Network nodes in the Mpumalanga (Agincourt), KwaZulu-Natal, (Africa Health Research Institute) and Limpopo (Dikgale-Mamabolo-Mothiba) provinces conducted up to 14 rounds of longitudinal telephone surveys among randomly sampled households from rural and periurban surveillance populations every 2-3 weeks. Interviews included questions on the following topics: COVID-19-related knowledge and behaviors, the health and economic impacts of NPIs, and mental health. We analyzed how responses varied based on NPI stringency and household sociodemographics. RESULTS: In total, 5120 households completed 23,095 interviews between April and December 2020. Respondents' self-reported satisfaction with their COVID-19-related knowledge and face mask use rapidly rose to 85% and 95%, respectively, by August. As selected NPIs were eased, the amount of travel increased, economic losses were reduced, and the prevalence of anxiety and depression symptoms fell. When the number of COVID-19 cases spiked at one node in July, the amount of travel dropped rapidly and the rate of missed daily medications doubled. Households where more adults received government-funded old-age pensions reported concerns about economic matters and medication access less often. CONCLUSIONS: South Africans complied with stringent, COVID-19-related NPIs despite the threat of substantial social, economic, and health repercussions. Government-supported social welfare programs appeared to buffer interruptions in income and health care access during local outbreaks. Epidemic control policies must be balanced against the broader well-being of people in resource-limited settings and designed with parallel support systems when such policies threaten peoples' income and access to basic services.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Epidemics/prevention & control , Health Behavior , Health Services Accessibility/statistics & numerical data , Income/statistics & numerical data , Public Policy , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Prospective Studies , Rural Population/statistics & numerical data , South Africa/epidemiology , Surveys and Questionnaires
14.
BMJ Open ; 11(3): e047961, 2021 03 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1143052

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To assess the effect of lockdown during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic on daily all-cause admissions, and by age and diagnosis subgroups, and the odds of all-cause mortality in a hospital in rural KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). DESIGN: Observational cohort. SETTING: Referral hospital for 17 primary care clinics in uMkhanyakude District. PARTICIPANTS: Data collected by the Africa Health Research Institute on all admissions from 1 January to 20 October: 5848 patients contributed to 6173 admissions. EXPOSURE: Five levels of national lockdown in South Africa from 27 March 2020, with restrictions decreasing from levels 5 to 1, respectively. OUTCOME MEASURES: Changes and trends in daily all-cause admissions and risk of in-hospital mortality before and at each stage of lockdown, estimated by Poisson and logistic interrupted time series regression, with stratification for age, sex and diagnosis. RESULTS: Daily admissions decreased during level 5 lockdown for infants (incidence rate ratio (IRR) compared with prelockdown 0.63, 95% CI 0.44 to 0.90), children aged 1-5 years old (IRR 0.43, 95% CI 028 to 0.65) and respiratory diagnoses (IRR 0.57, 95% CI 0.36 to 0.90). From level 4 to level 3, total admissions increased (IRR 1.17, 95% CI 1.06 to 1.28), as well as for men >19 years (IRR 1.50, 95% CI 1.17 to 1.92) and respiratory diagnoses (IRR 4.26, 95% CI 2.36 to 7.70). Among patients admitted to hospital, the odds of death decreased during level 5 compared with prelockdown (adjusted OR 0.48, 95% CI 0.28 to 0.83) and then increased in later stages. CONCLUSIONS: Level 5 lockdown is likely to have prevented the most vulnerable population, children under 5 years and those more severely ill from accessing hospital care in rural KZN, as reflected by the drop in admissions and odds of mortality. Subsequent increases in admissions and in odds of death in the hospital could be due to improved and delayed access to hospital as restrictions were eased.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hospital Mortality/trends , Hospitalization/trends , Pandemics , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Child , Child, Preschool , Communicable Disease Control , Female , Hospitals , Humans , Infant , Interrupted Time Series Analysis , Male , Middle Aged , South Africa/epidemiology , Young Adult
15.
Wellcome Open Res ; 5: 109, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1027389

ABSTRACT

A coordinated system of disease surveillance will be critical to effectively control the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic. Such systems enable rapid detection and mapping of epidemics and inform allocation of scarce prevention and intervention resources. Although many lower- and middle-income settings lack infrastructure for optimal disease surveillance, health and demographic surveillance systems (HDSS) provide a unique opportunity for epidemic monitoring. This protocol describes a surveillance program at the Africa Health Research Institute's Population Intervention Platform site in northern KwaZulu-Natal. The program leverages a longstanding HDSS in a rural, resource-limited setting with very high prevalence of HIV and tuberculosis to perform Covid-19 surveillance. Our primary aims include: describing the epidemiology of the Covid-19 epidemic in rural KwaZulu-Natal; determining the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak and non-pharmaceutical control interventions (NPI) on behaviour and wellbeing; determining the impact of HIV and tuberculosis on Covid-19 susceptibility; and using collected data to support the local public-sector health response. The program involves telephone-based interviews with over 20,000 households every four months, plus a sub-study calling 750 households every two weeks. Each call asks a household representative how the epidemic and NPI are affecting the household and conducts a Covid-19 risk screen for all resident members. Any individuals screening positive are invited to a clinical screen, potential test and referral to necessary care - conducted in-person near their home following careful risk minimization procedures. In this protocol we report the details of our cohort design, questionnaires, data and reporting structures, and standard operating procedures in hopes that our project can inform similar efforts elsewhere.

16.
Cell Rep Med ; 1(5): 100062, 2020 Aug 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1026726

ABSTRACT

There is an urgent need for rapid SARS-CoV-2 testing in hospitals to limit nosocomial spread. We report an evaluation of point of care (POC) nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT) in 149 participants with parallel combined nasal and throat swabbing for POC versus standard lab RT-PCR testing. Median time to result is 2.6 (IQR 2.3-4.8) versus 26.4 h (IQR 21.4-31.4, p < 0.001), with 32 (21.5%) positive and 117 (78.5%) negative. Cohen's κ correlation between tests is 0.96 (95% CI 0.91-1.00). When comparing nearly 1,000 tests pre- and post-implementation, the median time to definitive bed placement from admission is 23.4 (8.6-41.9) versus 17.1 h (9.0-28.8), p = 0.02. Mean length of stay on COVID-19 "holding" wards is 58.5 versus 29.9 h (p < 0.001). POC testing increases isolation room availability, avoids bed closures, allows discharge to care homes, and expedites access to hospital procedures. POC testing could mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on hospital systems.

17.
JAMA Netw Open ; 3(12): e2028195, 2020 12 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-985881

ABSTRACT

Importance: Approximately 356 000 people stay in homeless shelters nightly in the United States. They have high risk of contracting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Objective: To assess the estimated clinical outcomes, costs, and cost-effectiveness associated with strategies for COVID-19 management among adults experiencing sheltered homelessness. Design, Setting, and Participants: This decision analytic model used a simulated cohort of 2258 adults residing in homeless shelters in Boston, Massachusetts. Cohort characteristics and costs were adapted from Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program. Disease progression, transmission, and outcomes data were taken from published literature and national databases. Surging, growing, and slowing epidemics (effective reproduction numbers [Re], 2.6, 1.3, and 0.9, respectively) were examined. Costs were from a health care sector perspective, and the time horizon was 4 months, from April to August 2020. Exposures: Daily symptom screening with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing of individuals with positive symptom screening results, universal PCR testing every 2 weeks, hospital-based COVID-19 care, alternative care sites (ACSs) for mild or moderate COVID-19, and temporary housing were each compared with no intervention. Main Outcomes and Measures: Cumulative infections and hospital-days, costs to the health care sector (US dollars), and cost-effectiveness, as incremental cost per case of COVID-19 prevented. Results: The simulated population of 2258 sheltered homeless adults had a mean (SD) age of 42.6 (9.04) years. Compared with no intervention, daily symptom screening with ACSs for pending tests or confirmed COVID-19 and mild or moderate disease was associated with 37% fewer infections (1954 vs 1239) and 46% lower costs ($6.10 million vs $3.27 million) at an Re of 2.6, 75% fewer infections (538 vs 137) and 72% lower costs ($1.46 million vs $0.41 million) at an Re of 1.3, and 51% fewer infections (174 vs 85) and 51% lower costs ($0.54 million vs $0.26 million) at an Re of 0.9. Adding PCR testing every 2 weeks was associated with a further decrease in infections; incremental cost per case prevented was $1000 at an Re of 2.6, $27 000 at an Re of 1.3, and $71 000 at an Re of 0.9. Temporary housing with PCR every 2 weeks was most effective but substantially more expensive than other options. Compared with no intervention, temporary housing with PCR every 2 weeks was associated with 81% fewer infections (376) and 542% higher costs ($39.12 million) at an Re of 2.6, 82% fewer infections (95) and 2568% higher costs ($38.97 million) at an Re of 1.3, and 59% fewer infections (71) and 7114% higher costs ($38.94 million) at an Re of 0.9. Results were sensitive to cost and sensitivity of PCR and ACS efficacy in preventing transmission. Conclusions and Relevance: In this modeling study of simulated adults living in homeless shelters, daily symptom screening and ACSs were associated with fewer severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections and decreased costs compared with no intervention. In a modeled surging epidemic, adding universal PCR testing every 2 weeks was associated with further decrease in SARS-CoV-2 infections at modest incremental cost and should be considered during future surges.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Health Care Costs , Homeless Persons , Hospitalization/economics , Housing/economics , Mass Screening/methods , COVID-19/economics , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/economics , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , Cohort Studies , Communicable Disease Control/economics , Computer Simulation , Cost-Benefit Analysis , Decision Support Techniques , Humans , Mass Screening/economics , SARS-CoV-2 , Symptom Assessment/economics , Symptom Assessment/methods , United States/epidemiology
18.
Lancet Glob Health ; 9(2): e120-e129, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-922185

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Health-care resource constraints in low-income and middle-income countries necessitate the identification of cost-effective public health interventions to address COVID-19. We aimed to develop a dynamic COVID-19 microsimulation model to assess clinical and economic outcomes and cost-effectiveness of epidemic control strategies in KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa. METHODS: We compared different combinations of five public health interventions: health-care testing alone, where diagnostic testing is done only for individuals presenting to health-care centres; contact tracing in households of cases; isolation centres, for cases not requiring hospital admission; mass symptom screening and molecular testing for symptomatic individuals by community health-care workers; and quarantine centres, for household contacts who test negative. We calibrated infection transmission rates to match effective reproduction number (Re) estimates reported in South Africa. We assessed two main epidemic scenarios for a period of 360 days, with an Re of 1·5 and 1·2. Strategies with incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of less than US$3250 per year of life saved were considered cost-effective. We also did sensitivity analyses by varying key parameters (Re values, molecular testing sensitivity, and efficacies and costs of interventions) to determine the effect on clinical and cost projections. FINDINGS: When Re was 1·5, health-care testing alone resulted in the highest number of COVID-19 deaths during the 360-day period. Compared with health-care testing alone, a combination of health-care testing, contact tracing, use of isolation centres, mass symptom screening, and use of quarantine centres reduced mortality by 94%, increased health-care costs by 33%, and was cost-effective (ICER $340 per year of life saved). In settings where quarantine centres were not feasible, a combination of health-care testing, contact tracing, use of isolation centres, and mass symptom screening was cost-effective compared with health-care testing alone (ICER $590 per year of life saved). When Re was 1·2, health-care testing, contact tracing, use of isolation centres, and use of quarantine centres was the least costly strategy, and no other strategies were cost-effective. In sensitivity analyses, a combination of health-care testing, contact tracing, use of isolation centres, mass symptom screening, and use of quarantine centres was generally cost-effective, with the exception of scenarios in which Re was 2·6 and when efficacies of isolation centres and quarantine centres for transmission reduction were reduced. INTERPRETATION: In South Africa, strategies involving household contact tracing, isolation, mass symptom screening, and quarantining household contacts who test negative would substantially reduce COVID-19 mortality and would be cost-effective. The optimal combination of interventions depends on epidemic growth characteristics and practical implementation considerations. FUNDING: US National Institutes of Health, Royal Society, Wellcome Trust.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Epidemics/prevention & control , Public Health/economics , Adolescent , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , Child, Preschool , Computer Simulation , Cost-Benefit Analysis , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Middle Aged , Models, Biological , Public Health/methods , South Africa/epidemiology , Young Adult
20.
medRxiv ; 2020 Oct 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-900747

ABSTRACT

Importance: Approximately 356,000 people stay in homeless shelters nightly in the US. They are at high risk for COVID-19. Objective: To assess clinical outcomes, costs, and cost-effectiveness of strategies for COVID-19 management among sheltered homeless adults. Design: We developed a dynamic microsimulation model of COVID-19 in sheltered homeless adults in Boston, Massachusetts. We used cohort characteristics and costs from Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program. Disease progression, transmission, and outcomes data were from published literature and national databases. We examined surging, growing, and slowing epidemics (effective reproduction numbers [Re] 2.6, 1.3, and 0.9). Costs were from a health care sector perspective; time horizon was 4 months, from April to August 2020. Setting & Participants: Simulated cohort of 2,258 adults residing in homeless shelters in Boston. Interventions: We assessed daily symptom screening with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing of screen-positives, universal PCR testing every 2 weeks, hospital-based COVID-19 care, alternate care sites [ACSs] for mild/moderate COVID-19, and temporary housing, each compared to no intervention. Main Outcomes and Measures: Cumulative infections and hospital-days, costs to the health care sector (US dollars), and cost-effectiveness, as incremental cost per case prevented of COVID-19. Results: We simulated a population of 2,258 sheltered homeless adults with mean age of 42.6 years. Compared to no intervention, daily symptom screening with ACSs for pending tests or confirmed COVID-19 and mild/moderate disease led to 37% fewer infections and 46% lower costs (Re=2.6), 75% fewer infections and 72% lower costs (Re=1.3), and 51% fewer infections and 51% lower costs (Re=0.9). Adding PCR testing every 2 weeks further decreased infections; incremental cost per case prevented was $1,000 (Re=2.6), $27,000 (Re=1.3), and $71,000 (Re=0.9). Temporary housing with PCR every 2 weeks was most effective but substantially more costly than other options. Results were sensitive to cost and sensitivity of PCR and ACS efficacy in preventing transmission. Conclusions & Relevance: In this modeling study of simulated adults living in homeless shelters, daily symptom screening and ACSs were associated with fewer COVID-19 infections and decreased costs compared with no intervention. In a modeled surging epidemic, adding universal PCR testing every 2 weeks was associated with further decrease in COVID-19 infections at modest incremental cost and should be considered during future surges.

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