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PLoS Comput Biol ; 18(10): e1010489, 2022 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2065096


Like other congregate living settings, military basic training has been subject to outbreaks of COVID-19. We sought to identify improved strategies for preventing outbreaks in this setting using an agent-based model of a hypothetical cohort of trainees on a U.S. Army post. Our analysis revealed unique aspects of basic training that require customized approaches to outbreak prevention, which draws attention to the possibility that customized approaches may be necessary in other settings, too. In particular, we showed that introductions by trainers and support staff may be a major vulnerability, given that those individuals remain at risk of community exposure throughout the training period. We also found that increased testing of trainees upon arrival could actually increase the risk of outbreaks, given the potential for false-positive test results to lead to susceptible individuals becoming infected in group isolation and seeding outbreaks in training units upon release. Until an effective transmission-blocking vaccine is adopted at high coverage by individuals involved with basic training, need will persist for non-pharmaceutical interventions to prevent outbreaks in military basic training. Ongoing uncertainties about virus variants and breakthrough infections necessitate continued vigilance in this setting, even as vaccination coverage increases.

COVID-19 , Military Personnel , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Cohort Studies
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 890, 2022 01 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1635924


The control of the initial outbreak and spread of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 via the application of population-wide non-pharmaceutical mitigation measures have led to remarkable successes in dampening the pandemic globally. However, with countries beginning to ease or lift these measures fully to restart activities, concern is growing regarding the impacts that such reopening of societies could have on the subsequent transmission of the virus. While mathematical models of COVID-19 transmission have played important roles in evaluating the impacts of these measures for curbing virus transmission, a key need is for models that are able to effectively capture the effects of the spatial and social heterogeneities that drive the epidemic dynamics observed at the local community level. Iterative forecasting that uses new incoming epidemiological and social behavioral data to sequentially update locally-applicable transmission models can overcome this gap, potentially resulting in better predictions and policy actions. Here, we present the development of one such data-driven iterative modelling tool based on publicly available data and an extended SEIR model for forecasting SARS-CoV-2 at the county level in the United States. Using data from the state of Florida, we demonstrate the utility of such a system for exploring the outcomes of the social measures proposed by policy makers for containing the course of the pandemic. We provide comprehensive results showing how the locally identified models could be employed for accessing the impacts and societal tradeoffs of using specific social protective strategies. We conclude that it could have been possible to lift the more disruptive social interventions related to movement restriction/social distancing measures earlier if these were accompanied by widespread testing and contact tracing. These intensified social interventions could have potentially also brought about the control of the epidemic in low- and some medium-incidence county settings first, supporting the development and deployment of a geographically-phased approach to reopening the economy of Florida. We have made our data-driven forecasting system publicly available for policymakers and health officials to use in their own locales, so that a more efficient coordinated strategy for controlling SARS-CoV-2 region-wide can be developed and successfully implemented.

COVID-19 , Contact Tracing , Models, Biological , Pandemics , Physical Distancing , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , Florida/epidemiology , Forecasting , Humans
Clin Infect Dis ; 72(8): 1463-1466, 2021 04 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1066275


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many key neglected tropical disease (NTD) activities have been postponed. This hindrance comes at a time when the NTDs are progressing towards their ambitious goals for 2030. Mathematical modelling on several NTDs, namely gambiense sleeping sickness, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiases (STH), trachoma, and visceral leishmaniasis, shows that the impact of this disruption will vary across the diseases. Programs face a risk of resurgence, which will be fastest in high-transmission areas. Furthermore, of the mass drug administration diseases, schistosomiasis, STH, and trachoma are likely to encounter faster resurgence. The case-finding diseases (gambiense sleeping sickness and visceral leishmaniasis) are likely to have fewer cases being detected but may face an increasing underlying rate of new infections. However, once programs are able to resume, there are ways to mitigate the impact and accelerate progress towards the 2030 goals.

COVID-19 , Tropical Medicine , Humans , Neglected Diseases/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2