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1.
J Pers Med ; 12(4)2022 Mar 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2315957

ABSTRACT

IMPORTANCE: A male predominance is reported in hospitalised patients with COVID-19 alongside a higher mortality rate in men compared to women. OBJECTIVE: To assess if the reported sex bias in the COVID-19 pandemic is validated by analysis of a subset of patients with severe disease. DESIGN: A nationwide retrospective cohort study was performed using the Austrian National COVID Database. We performed a sex-specific Lasso regression to select the covariates best explaining the outcomes of mechanical ventilation and death using variables known before ICU admission. We use logistic regression to construct a sex-specific "risk score" for the outcomes using these variables. SETTING: We studied the characteristics and outcomes of patients admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) in Austria. PARTICIPANTS: 5118 patients admitted to the ICU in Austria with a COVID-19 diagnosis in 03/2020-03/2021. EXPOSURES: Demographic and clinical characteristics, vital signs and laboratory tests, comorbidities, and management of patients admitted to ICUs were analysed for possible sex differences. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The aim was to define risk scores for mechanical ventilation and mortality for each sex to provide better sex-sensitive management and outcomes in the future. RESULTS: We found balanced accuracies between 55% and 65% to predict the outcomes. Regarding outcome death, we found that the risk score for pre-ICU variables increases with age, renal insufficiency (f: OR 1.7(2), m: 1.9(2)) and decreases with observance as admission cause (f: OR 0.33(5), m: 0.36(5)). Additionally, the risk score for females also includes respiratory insufficiency (OR 2.4(4)) while heart failure for males only (OR 1.5(1)). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Better knowledge of how sex influences COVID-19 outcomes at ICUs will have important implications for the ongoing pandemic's clinical care and management strategies. Identifying sex-specific features in individuals with COVID-19 and fatal consequences might inform preventive strategies and public health services.

2.
Commun Med (Lond) ; 2(1): 157, 2022 Dec 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2151141

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, the Austrian governmental crisis unit commissioned a forecast consortium with regularly projections of case numbers and demand for hospital beds. The goal was to assess how likely Austrian ICUs would become overburdened with COVID-19 patients in the upcoming weeks. METHODS: We consolidated the output of three epidemiological models (ranging from agent-based micro simulation to parsimonious compartmental models) and published weekly short-term forecasts for the number of confirmed cases as well as estimates and upper bounds for the required hospital beds. RESULTS: We report on three key contributions by which our forecasting and reporting system has helped shaping Austria's policy to navigate the crisis, namely (i) when and where case numbers and bed occupancy are expected to peak during multiple waves, (ii) whether to ease or strengthen non-pharmaceutical intervention in response to changing incidences, and (iii) how to provide hospital managers guidance to plan health-care capacities. CONCLUSIONS: Complex mathematical epidemiological models play an important role in guiding governmental responses during pandemic crises, in particular when they are used as a monitoring system to detect epidemiological change points.


During the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, health authorities make decisions on how and when to implement interventions such as social distancing to avoid overburdening hospitals and other parts of the healthcare system. We combined three mathematical models developed to predict the expected number of confirmed SARS-CoV-2 cases and hospitalizations over the next two weeks. This provides decision-makers and the general public with a combined forecast that is usually more accurate than any of the individual models. Our forecasting system has been used in Austria to decide when to strengthen or ease response measures.

3.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 7719, 2022 05 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1947421

ABSTRACT

Crises like COVID-19 exposed the fragility of highly interdependent corporate supply networks and the complex production processes depending on them. However, a quantitative assessment of individual companies' impact on the networks' overall production is hitherto non-existent. Based on a unique value added tax dataset, we construct the firm-level production network of an entire country at an unprecedented granularity and present a novel approach for computing the economic systemic risk (ESR) of all firms within the network. We demonstrate that 0.035% of companies have extraordinarily high ESR, impacting about 23% of the national economic production should any of them default. Firm size cannot explain the ESR of individual companies; their position in the production networks matters substantially. A reliable assessment of ESR seems impossible with aggregated data traditionally used in Input-Output Economics. Our findings indicate that ESR of some extremely risky companies can be reduced by introducing supply chain redundancies and changes in the network topology.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans
4.
Bull Math Biol ; 84(8): 79, 2022 06 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1905515

ABSTRACT

We study the relative importance of two key control measures for epidemic spreading: endogenous social self-distancing and exogenous imposed quarantine. We use the framework of adaptive networks, moment-closure, and ordinary differential equations to introduce new model types of susceptible-infected-recovered (SIR) dynamics. First, we compare computationally expensive, adaptive network simulations with their corresponding computationally efficient ODE equivalents and find excellent agreement. Second, we discover that there exists a critical curve in parameter space for the epidemic threshold, which suggests a mutual compensation effect between the two mitigation strategies: as long as social distancing and quarantine measures are both sufficiently strong, large outbreaks are prevented. Third, we study the total number of infected and the maximum peak during large outbreaks using a combination of analytical estimates and numerical simulations. Also for large outbreaks we find a similar compensation mechanism as for the epidemic threshold. This means that if there is little incentive for social distancing in a population, drastic quarantining is required, and vice versa. Both pure scenarios are unrealistic in practice. The new models show that only a combination of measures is likely to succeed to control epidemic spreading. Fourth, we analytically compute an upper bound for the total number of infected on adaptive networks, using integral estimates in combination with a moment-closure approximation on the level of an observable. Our method allows us to elegantly and quickly check and cross-validate various conjectures about the relevance of different network control measures. In this sense it becomes possible to adapt also other models rapidly to new epidemic challenges.


Subject(s)
Epidemics , Quarantine , Disease Outbreaks , Epidemics/prevention & control , Mathematical Concepts , Models, Biological
6.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 554, 2022 01 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1655581

ABSTRACT

We aim to identify those measures that effectively control the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Austrian schools. Using cluster tracing data we calibrate an agent-based epidemiological model and consider situations where the B1.617.2 (delta) virus strain is dominant and parts of the population are vaccinated to quantify the impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) such as room ventilation, reduction of class size, wearing of masks during lessons, vaccinations, and school entry testing by SARS-CoV2-antigen tests. In the data we find that 40% of all clusters involved no more than two cases, and 3% of the clusters only had more than 20 cases. The model shows that combinations of NPIs together with vaccinations are necessary to allow for a controlled opening of schools under sustained community transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 delta variant. For plausible vaccination rates, primary (secondary) schools require a combination of at least two (three) of the above NPIs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , Primary Prevention/methods , Vaccination/statistics & numerical data , Adolescent , Austria/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Child , Contact Tracing , Disease Hotspot , Humans , Masks , Quarantine , SARS-CoV-2 , Schools/statistics & numerical data , Ventilation
7.
J Pers Med ; 11(10)2021 Sep 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1480835

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) are at an increased risk of developing infectious diseases such as pneumonia. Hitherto, there has been uncertainty as to whether there is a relationship between different antidiabetic drug combinations and development of pneumonia in this specific cohort. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: In this longitudinal retrospective study we used multiple logistic regression analysis to assess the odds ratios (ORs) of pneumonia during an observational period of 2 years in 31,397 patients with T2DM under previously prescribed stable antidiabetic drug combinations over a duration of 4 years in comparison to 6568 T2DM patients without drug therapy over 4 years adjusted for age, sex and hospitalization duration. RESULTS: Of the 37,965 patients with T2DM, 3720 patients underwent stable monotherapy treatment with insulin (mean age: 66.57 ± 9.72 years), 2939 individuals (mean age: 70.62 ± 8.95 y) received stable statin and insulin therapy, and 1596 patients were treated with a stable combination therapy of metformin, insulin and statins (mean age: 68.27 ± 8.86 y). In comparison to the control group without antidiabetic drugs (mean age: 72.83 ± 9.96 y), individuals undergoing insulin monotherapy (OR: 2.07, CI: 1.54-2.79, p < 0.001); insulin and statin combination therapy (OR: 2.24, CI: 1.68-3.00, p < 0.001); metformin, insulin and statin combination therapy (OR: 2.27, CI: 1.55-3.31, p < 0.001); statin, insulin and dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor (DPP-IV inhibitor) combination therapy (OR: 4.31, CI: 1.80-10.33, p = 0.001); as well as individuals treated with metformin and sulfonylureas (OR: 1.70, CI: 1.08-2.69, p = 0.02) were at increased risk of receiving a diagnosis of pneumonia. CONCLUSIONS: Stable monotherapy with insulin, but also in combination with other antidiabetic drugs, is related to an increased risk of being diagnosed with pneumonia during hospital stays in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus compared to untreated controls.

8.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 19241, 2021 09 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1442800

ABSTRACT

Behavioral gender differences have been found for a wide range of human activities including the way people communicate, move, provision themselves, or organize leisure activities. Using mobile phone data from 1.2 million devices in Austria (15% of the population) across the first phase of the COVID-19 crisis, we quantify gender-specific patterns of communication intensity, mobility, and circadian rhythms. We show the resilience of behavioral patterns with respect to the shock imposed by a strict nation-wide lock-down that Austria experienced in the beginning of the crisis with severe implications on public and private life. We find drastic differences in gender-specific responses during the different phases of the pandemic. After the lock-down gender differences in mobility and communication patterns increased massively, while circadian rhythms tended to synchronize. In particular, women had fewer but longer phone calls than men during the lock-down. Mobility declined massively for both genders, however, women tended to restrict their movement stronger than men. Women showed a stronger tendency to avoid shopping centers and more men frequented recreational areas. After the lock-down, males returned back to normal quicker than women; young age-cohorts return much quicker. Differences are driven by the young and adolescent population. An age stratification highlights the role of retirement on behavioral differences. We find that the length of a day of men and women is reduced by 1 h. We interpret and discuss these findings as signals for underlying social, biological and psychological gender differences when coping with crisis and taking risks.


Subject(s)
Behavior/physiology , COVID-19 , Sex Factors , Surveys and Questionnaires , Age Factors , Austria , Cell Phone , Circadian Rhythm , Communication , Female , Humans , Leisure Activities , Male , Pandemics
9.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(10)2021 03 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1165022

Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
10.
Nat Hum Behav ; 4(12): 1303-1312, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-926236

ABSTRACT

Assessing the effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2 is critical to inform future preparedness response plans. Here we quantify the impact of 6,068 hierarchically coded NPIs implemented in 79 territories on the effective reproduction number, Rt, of COVID-19. We propose a modelling approach that combines four computational techniques merging statistical, inference and artificial intelligence tools. We validate our findings with two external datasets recording 42,151 additional NPIs from 226 countries. Our results indicate that a suitable combination of NPIs is necessary to curb the spread of the virus. Less disruptive and costly NPIs can be as effective as more intrusive, drastic, ones (for example, a national lockdown). Using country-specific 'what-if' scenarios, we assess how the effectiveness of NPIs depends on the local context such as timing of their adoption, opening the way for forecasting the effectiveness of future interventions.


Subject(s)
Basic Reproduction Number/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19/prevention & control , Global Health/statistics & numerical data , Government , Artificial Intelligence , Datasets as Topic , Humans , Models, Theoretical
11.
PLoS One ; 15(11): e0240652, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-910299

ABSTRACT

In the current COVID19 crisis many national healthcare systems are confronted with an acute shortage of tests for confirming SARS-CoV-2 infections. For low overall infection levels in the population the pooling of samples can drastically amplify the testing capacity. Here we present a formula to estimate the optimal group-size for pooling, the efficiency gain (tested persons per test), and the expected upper bound of missed infections in pooled testing, all as a function of the population-wide infection levels and the false negative/positive rates of the currently used PCR tests. Assuming an infection level of 0.1% and a false negative rate of 2%, the optimal pool-size is about 34, and an efficiency gain of about 15 tested persons per test is possible. For an infection level of 1% the optimal pool-size is 11, the efficiency gain is 5.1 tested persons per test. For an infection level of 10% the optimal pool-size reduces to about 4, the efficiency gain is about 1.7 tested persons per test. For infection levels of 30% and higher there is no more benefit from pooling. To see to what extent replicates of the pooled tests improve the estimate of the maximal number of missed infections, we present results for 1 to 5 replicates.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Diagnostic Tests, Routine/methods , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Specimen Handling/methods , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Humans , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2
13.
Sci Data ; 7(1): 285, 2020 08 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-733508

ABSTRACT

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, governments have implemented a wide range of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). Monitoring and documenting government strategies during the COVID-19 crisis is crucial to understand the progression of the epidemic. Following a content analysis strategy of existing public information sources, we developed a specific hierarchical coding scheme for NPIs. We generated a comprehensive structured dataset of government interventions and their respective timelines of implementation. To improve transparency and motivate collaborative validation process, information sources are shared via an open library. We also provide codes that enable users to visualise the dataset. Standardization and structure of the dataset facilitate inter-country comparison and the assessment of the impacts of different NPI categories on the epidemic parameters, population health indicators, the economy, and human rights, among others. This dataset provides an in-depth insight of the government strategies and can be a valuable tool for developing relevant preparedness plans for pandemic. We intend to further develop and update this dataset until the end of December 2020.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Government , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Communicable Disease Control , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , SARS-CoV-2
14.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 117(37): 22684-22689, 2020 09 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-729025

ABSTRACT

Many countries have passed their first COVID-19 epidemic peak. Traditional epidemiological models describe this as a result of nonpharmaceutical interventions pushing the growth rate below the recovery rate. In this phase of the pandemic many countries showed an almost linear growth of confirmed cases for extended time periods. This new containment regime is hard to explain by traditional models where either infection numbers grow explosively until herd immunity is reached or the epidemic is completely suppressed. Here we offer an explanation of this puzzling observation based on the structure of contact networks. We show that for any given transmission rate there exists a critical number of social contacts, [Formula: see text], below which linear growth and low infection prevalence must occur. Above [Formula: see text] traditional epidemiological dynamics take place, e.g., as in susceptible-infected-recovered (SIR) models. When calibrating our model to empirical estimates of the transmission rate and the number of days being contagious, we find [Formula: see text] Assuming realistic contact networks with a degree of about 5, and assuming that lockdown measures would reduce that to household size (about 2.5), we reproduce actual infection curves with remarkable precision, without fitting or fine-tuning of parameters. In particular, we compare the United States and Austria, as examples for one country that initially did not impose measures and one that responded with a severe lockdown early on. Our findings question the applicability of standard compartmental models to describe the COVID-19 containment phase. The probability to observe linear growth in these is practically zero.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Models, Statistical , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Basic Reproduction Number , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Quarantine/statistics & numerical data
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