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Int J Epidemiol ; 51(4): 1062-1072, 2022 Aug 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1706511


BACKGROUND: Smoking is a risk factor for most respiratory infections, but it may protect against SARS-CoV-2 infection. The objective was to assess whether smoking and e-cigarette use were associated with severe COVID-19. METHODS: This cohort ran from 24 January 2020 until 30 April 2020 at the height of the first wave of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in England. It comprised 7 869 534 people representative of the population of England with smoking status, demographic factors and diseases recorded by general practitioners in the medical records, which were linked to hospital and death data. The outcomes were COVID-19-associated hospitalization, intensive care unit (ICU) admission and death. The associations between smoking and the outcomes were assessed with Cox proportional hazards models, with sequential adjustment for confounding variables and indirect causal factors (body mass index and smoking-related disease). RESULTS: Compared with never smokers, people currently smoking were at lower risk of COVID-19 hospitalization, adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) were 0.64 (95% confidence intervals 0.60 to 0.69) for <10 cigarettes/day, 0.49 (0.41 to 0.59) for 10-19 cigarettes/day, and 0.61 (0.49 to 0.74) for ≥20 cigarettes/day. For ICU admission, the corresponding HRs were 0.31 (0.24 to 0.40), 0.15 (0.06 to 0.36), and 0.35 (0.17 to 0.74) and death were: 0.79 (0.70 to 0.89), 0.66 (0.48 to 0.90), and 0.77 (0.54 to 1.09) respectively. Former smokers were at higher risk of severe COVID-19: HRs: 1.07 (1.03 to 1.11) for hospitalization, 1.17 (1.04 to 1.31) for ICU admission, and 1.17 (1.10 to 1.24) for death. All-cause mortality was higher for current smoking than never smoking, HR 1.42 (1.36 to 1.48). Among e-cigarette users, the adjusted HR for e-cigarette use and hospitalization with COVID-19 was 1.06 (0.88 to 1.28), for ICU admission was 1.04 (0.57 to 1.89, and for death was 1.12 (0.81 to 1.55). CONCLUSIONS: Current smoking was associated with a reduced risk of severe COVID-19 but the association with e-cigarette use was unclear. All-cause mortality remained higher despite this possible reduction in death from COVID-19 during an epidemic of SARS-CoV-2. Findings support investigating possible protective mechanisms of smoking for SARS-CoV-2 infection, including the ongoing trials of nicotine to treat COVID-19.

COVID-19 , Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems , Vaping , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cohort Studies , Hospitalization , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Smoking/epidemiology , Vaping/epidemiology
Br J Cancer ; 126(6): 948-956, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585875


BACKGROUND: It remains unclear to what extent reductions in urgent referrals for suspected cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic were the result of fewer patients attending primary care compared to GPs referring fewer patients. METHODS: Cohort study including electronic health records data from 8,192,069 patients from 663 English practices. Weekly consultation rates, cumulative consultations and referrals were calculated for 28 clinical features from the NICE suspected cancer guidelines. Clinical feature consultation rate ratios (CRR) and urgent referral rate ratios (RRR) compared time periods in 2020 with 2019. FINDINGS: Consultations for cancer clinical features decreased by 24.19% (95% CI: 24.04-24.34%) between 2019 and 2020, particularly in the 6-12 weeks following the first national lockdown. Urgent referrals for clinical features decreased by 10.47% (95% CI: 9.82-11.12%) between 2019 and 2020. Overall, once patients consulted with primary care, GPs urgently referred a similar or greater proportion of patients compared to previous years. CONCLUSION: Due to the significant fall in patients consulting with clinical features of cancer there was a lower than expected number of urgent referrals in 2020. Sustained efforts should be made throughout the pandemic to encourage the public to consult their GP with cancer clinical features.

COVID-19 , Neoplasms , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cohort Studies , Communicable Disease Control , Humans , Neoplasms/epidemiology , Neoplasms/therapy , Pandemics , Primary Health Care , Referral and Consultation
J Glaucoma ; 29(10): 989-991, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-648474


PURPOSE: The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had a profound impact on how glaucoma care is delivered, necessitating reduced clinic flow, social distancing, and use of face coverings by patients and staff. This case highlights the need to be aware of improperly fitted face masks as a cause of artifact on standard automated perimetry (SAP). CLINICAL PRESENTATION: A 32-year-old female underwent SAP with the 24-2 SITA Fast test of the Humphrey Field Analyzer wearing an ear-loop surgical face mask. At the end of testing, it was noted that the mask had ridden up the patient's face. Small amounts of condensate were noted on the perimeter lens. CLINICAL FINDINGS: SAP demonstrated good reliability indices but in both eyes, there was a marked reduction in sensitivity inferiorly. The glaucoma hemifield test was outside normal limits. It was ensured the upper border of the mask was well sealed with the loops secured around the ears and nasal strip of the mask pinched down. Visual fields were repeated and were found to be normal. CONCLUSIONS: Poorly fitting face masks represent a new cause of visual field artifact which may mimic pathologic field defects. Without careful attention during testing, the cause of such artifacts may not be apparent, especially as reliability indices may be normal. Adjustments to the fit of face masks may help prevent fogging or mask slippage and increase test reliability.

Artifacts , Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Glaucoma/diagnosis , Masks/adverse effects , Optic Nerve Diseases/diagnosis , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Visual Field Tests , Adult , COVID-19 , False Positive Reactions , Female , Humans , Intraocular Pressure , Predictive Value of Tests , SARS-CoV-2 , Visual Fields/physiology