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1.
Indoor Air ; 32(10): e13142, 2022 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2088236

ABSTRACT

Implications for the academic and interpersonal development of children and adolescents underpin a global political consensus to maintain in-classroom teaching during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In support of this aim, the WHO and UNICEF have called for schools around the globe to be made safer from the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Detailed guidance is needed on how this goal can be successfully implemented in a wide variety of educational settings in order to effectively mitigate impacts on the health of students, staff, their families, and society. This review provides a comprehensive synthesis of current scientific evidence and emerging standards in relation to the use of layered prevention strategies (involving masks, distancing, and ventilation), setting out the basis for their implementation in the school environment. In the presence of increasingly infectious SARS-Cov-2 variants, in-classroom teaching can only be safely maintained through a layered strategy combining multiple protective measures. The precise measures that are needed at any point in time depend upon a number of dynamic factors, including the specific threat-level posed by the circulating variant, the level of community infection, and the political acceptability of the resultant risk. By consistently implementing appropriate prophylaxis measures, evidence shows that the risk of infection from in-classroom teaching can be dramatically reduced. Current studies indicate that wearing high-quality masks and regular testing are amongst the most important measures in preventing infection transmission; whilst effective natural and mechanical ventilation systems have been shown to reduce infection risks in classrooms by over 80%.


Subject(s)
Air Pollution, Indoor , COVID-19 , Child , Adolescent , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/prevention & control , Masks , Pandemics/prevention & control , Schools
2.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-324037

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of in-silico epidemiological modelling in predicting the dynamics of infectious diseases to inform health policy and decision makers about suitable prevention and containment strategies. Work in this setting involves solving challenging inference and control problems in individual-based models of ever increasing complexity. Here we discuss recent breakthroughs in machine learning, specifically in simulation-based inference, and explore its potential as a novel venue for model calibration to support the design and evaluation of public health interventions. To further stimulate research, we are developing software interfaces that turn two cornerstone COVID-19 and malaria epidemiology models COVID-sim, (https://github.com/mrc-ide/covid-sim/) and OpenMalaria (https://github.com/SwissTPH/openmalaria) into probabilistic programs, enabling efficient interpretable Bayesian inference within those simulators.

3.
Science ; 2021 May 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1388438

ABSTRACT

Airborne transmission by droplets and aerosols is important for the spread of viruses. Face masks are a well-established preventive measure, but their effectiveness for mitigating SARS-CoV-2 transmission is still under debate. We show that variations in mask efficacy can be explained by different regimes of virus abundance and related to population-average infection probability and reproduction number. For SARS-CoV-2, the viral load of infectious individuals can vary by orders of magnitude. We find that most environments and contacts are under conditions of low virus abundance (virus-limited) where surgical masks are effective at preventing virus spread. More advanced masks and other protective equipment are required in potentially virus-rich indoor environments including medical centers and hospitals. Masks are particularly effective in combination with other preventive measures like ventilation and distancing.

4.
Online J Public Health Inform ; 13(1): e3, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1212063

ABSTRACT

Where there is limited access to COVID-19 tests, or where the results of such tests have been delayed or even invalidated (e.g., California and Utah), there is a need for scalable alternative approaches-such as a heuristic model or "pregnancy test for COVID-19" that can factor in the time denominator (i.e., duration of symptoms). This paper asks whether infection among these public health and safety agencies is a "canary in the coal mine," litmus test, or microcosm (pick your analogy) for the communities in which they operate. Can COVID-19 infection counts and rates be seen "moving around" communities by examining the virus's effect on emergency responders themselves? The troubling question of emergency responders becoming "human indicator values" is relevant to maintaining the health of Mobile Medicine (EMS and Fire) personnel, as well as Police, who are an under-attended population, because these groups our collective resiliency would crash. It has further implications for policies regarding, and investments in, exposure tracking and contact tracing, PPE acquisition, and mental and physical wellness. DESIGN: We aggregated data from four (4) different EMS documentation systems across twelve (12) states using the MEDIVIEW BEACON Prehospital Health Information Exchange. We then outputted lists of charts containing critical ICD-10 values that had been identified by the WHO, the CDC, and the Los Angeles County Fire Deptartment's EMS Bureau as inclusion criteria for possible signs, symptoms, and clinical impressions of COVID-19 infection. RESULTS: Three important results emerged from this study: (1) a demonstration of frequent exposure to possible COVID-19 infection among Mobile Medical (EMS & Fire) care providers in the states whose data were included; (2) a demonstration of the nervousness of the general population, given that calls for help due to possible COVID-19 based on symptomology exceeded the number of responses with a correlating "provider impression" after an informed clinical assessment; and (3) the fact that this study was empowered by a public-private partnerships between a technology startup and numerous public health and public safety agencies, offers a template for success in rapidly implementing research and development collaborations. LIMITATIONS: This study incorporates data from only (a) twelve (12) states, and (b) four (4) Mobile Medical documentation systems. We sought to combat these limitations by ensuring that our sample crosses agencies types, geographies, population demographics, and municipal environments (i.e., rural vs. urban). CONCLUSIONS: Other studies have noted that EMS agencies are tasked with transporting the "sickest of the sick." We found that PPE is particularly essential where the frequency of encounters between potentially-or actually-infected patients is high, because from Los Angeles County to rural Texas, without sufficient protection, public health and public safety agencies have become microcosms of the communities they are meant to protect. Indeed, data from the first six months of the declared pandemic in the U.S.A. show that intra-departmental spread is one of (if not the) riskiest sources of infection among Mobile Medical professionals.

5.
Cardiovasc Res ; 116(14): 2247-2253, 2020 12 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-894578

ABSTRACT

AIMS: The risk of mortality from the coronavirus disease that emerged in 2019 (COVID-19) is increased by comorbidity from cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases. Air pollution also causes excess mortality from these conditions. Analysis of the first severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-1) outcomes in 2003, and preliminary investigations of those for SARS-CoV-2 since 2019, provide evidence that the incidence and severity are related to ambient air pollution. We estimated the fraction of COVID-19 mortality that is attributable to the long-term exposure to ambient fine particulate air pollution. METHODS AND RESULTS: We characterized global exposure to fine particulates based on satellite data, and calculated the anthropogenic fraction with an atmospheric chemistry model. The degree to which air pollution influences COVID-19 mortality was derived from epidemiological data in the USA and China. We estimate that particulate air pollution contributed ∼15% (95% confidence interval 7-33%) to COVID-19 mortality worldwide, 27% (13 - 46%) in East Asia, 19% (8-41%) in Europe, and 17% (6-39%) in North America. Globally, ∼50-60% of the attributable, anthropogenic fraction is related to fossil fuel use, up to 70-80% in Europe, West Asia, and North America. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that air pollution is an important cofactor increasing the risk of mortality from COVID-19. This provides extra motivation for combining ambitious policies to reduce air pollution with measures to control the transmission of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Air Pollutants/adverse effects , Air Pollution/adverse effects , COVID-19/mortality , Global Health , Particulate Matter/adverse effects , Asia , Environmental Exposure , Europe , Humans , Models, Theoretical , North America , Risk Assessment , Risk Factors , Time Factors
6.
Thorac Cardiovasc Surg ; 69(1): 92-94, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-752412

ABSTRACT

The current COVID-19 pandemia affects health care systems worldwide, however, to a variable extent depending on the caseload in each country. We aimed to provide a cross-sectional overview of current limitations or adaptions in lung transplant programs in Germany in from January to May 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemia caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. A cross-sectional survey assessing various aspects of lung transplant activity was sent to all active lung transplant programs (n = 12) in Germany. Eight centers (66%) responded to the survey within the requested time frame. Four centers (50%) reported their activity is not restricted at all and four centers (50%) reported on moderate general limitations. The overall lung transplant activity in Germany from January to May 2020 contains 128 bilateral and 11 single lung transplantations, which is similar to the same period in the year 2019 (126 bilateral transplantations and 12 single lung transplantations). The results suggest that the influence of the COVID-19 pandemia on lung transplantation activity in Germany has been moderate so far. Nevertheless, adaptions such as extensive testing of donors and recipients were introduced to reduce the likelihood of infections and increase patient safety. Alertness to changes in COVID-19 reproduction rates might be required until effective antiviral therapy or vaccination is available.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Lung Transplantation/trends , Cross-Sectional Studies , Donor Selection/trends , Germany , Health Care Surveys , Humans , Lung Transplantation/adverse effects , Patient Safety , Risk Assessment , Risk Factors , Time Factors , Tissue Donors/supply & distribution , Waiting Lists/mortality
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