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1.
SSM - Population Health ; : 101105, 2022.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-1805211

ABSTRACT

Understanding COVID-19 risk perception may help inform public health messaging aimed at encouraging preventive measures and improving countermeasures against the pandemic. We conducted an online survey of 29,708 Japanese adults in February 2021 and estimated the associations between COVID-19 risk perception and a broad array of individual factors. Two logistic regressions were constructed to estimate factors associated with the risk perception of COVID-19 (defined as responding that one might become infected within the next 6 months), and of severe illness among those who responded that they might become infected (defined as responding that one would become severely ill). After adjusting for covariates, those with a higher perceived risk of the COVID-19 vaccine had higher odds of risk perception for both infection and severe illness. Interestingly, those with higher odds of risk perception of being infected were more likely to report obtaining their information from healthcare workers whereas those with lower odds were more likely to report obtaining their information from the Internet or the government;those with higher odds of risk perception of being severely ill were more likely to report obtaining their information from the Internet. The higher the trust level in the government as a COVID-19 information source, the lower the odds of both risk perception of being infected and becoming severely ill. The higher the trust levels in social networking services as a COVID-19 information source, the higher the odds of risk perception of becoming severely ill. Public health messaging should address the factors identified in our study.

2.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-315708

ABSTRACT

Background: To fight against COVID-19, many policymakers are wavering on stricter public health interventions. However, relying on these measures but different strategies, both in and out of China’s Hubei province basically contained the epidemic in late February 2020. This study aimed to assess the response process and estimate time-varying effect of Hubei control strategy to provide insights for intervention design and implementation. Methods: : We retrospectively compared the spread and control of COVID-19 between China’s Hubei (excluding Wuhan) and non-Hubei areas using data that includes case reports, human mobility, and public health interventions from 1 January to 29 February, 2020. The static and dynamic risk assessment models were developed to statistically investigate the effect trends of Hubei control strategy on case growth after adjusting importation risk and response timing with non-Hubei strategy as a contrast. Results: : The analysis detected much higher but differential importation risk in Hubei. The response timing largely coincided with the importation risk in non-Hubei areas, but Hubei areas showed an opposite pattern. A careful and comprehensive comparison showed that Hubei control strategy implemented interventions characterized by unprecedentedly strict and ‘monitored’ self-quarantine at home, while non-Hubei strategy included physical distancing measures to reduce contact among individuals within or between populations. In contrast with non-Hubei control strategy, Hubei strategy showed a much higher, non-linear and gradually diminishing protective effect with at least 3 times fewer cases. Conclusions: : A risk-based control strategy is crucial to design an effective response for COVID-19 control. Our study demonstrates that the stricter Hubei strategy can achieve much better control effectiveness. These findings highlight the health benefits of precise and differentiated strategies informed by constant monitoring of outbreak risk and policy impacts.

3.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-314975

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the global need for reliable models of disease spread. We propose an AI-augmented forecast modeling framework that provides daily predictions of the expected number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths, cases and hospitalizations during the following 4 weeks and we present an international, prospective evaluation of our models' performance across all states and counties in the USA and prefectures in Japan. National mean absolute percentage error (MAPE) for predicting COVID-19 associated deaths before and after prospective deployment remained consistently <2% (US) and <10% (Japan). Average statewide (US) and prefecture wide (Japan) MAPE was 6% and 26% respectively (14% when looking at prefectures with more than 10 deaths). We show that our models perform well even during periods of considerable change in population behavior, and that it is robust to demographic differences across different geographic locations. We further demonstrate that our framework provides meaningful explanatory insights with the models accurately adapting to local and national policy interventions. Our framework enables counterfactual simulations, which indicate continuing Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions alongside vaccinations is essential for faster recovery from the pandemic, delaying the application of interventions has a detrimental effect, and allow exploration of the consequences of different vaccination strategies. The COVID-19 pandemic remains a global emergency. In the face of substantial challenges ahead, the approach presented here has the potential to inform critical decisions.

4.
Lancet Reg Health West Pac ; 18: 100330, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1559154

ABSTRACT

Background: Optimizing media campaigns for those who were unsure or unwilling to take coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines is required urgently to effectively present public health messages aimed at increasing vaccination coverage. We propose a novel framework for selecting tailor-made media channels and their combinations for this task. Methods: An online survey was conducted in Japan during February to March, 2021, with 30,053 participants. In addition to their sociodemographic characteristics, it asked the attitude toward vaccination and information sources (i.e., media channels) for COVID-19 issues. Multinomial logic regression was fitted to estimate the combinations of the media channels and their odds ratio (OR) associated with vaccination attitudes. Findings: The proportion of respondents who were unsure or unwilling to take the vaccination was skewed toward younger generation: 58.1% were aged under 35, while 28.1% were 65 years or older. Media channels such as "Non-medical and Non-TV" and "Non-medical and Non-government" were associated with the unsure group: OR (95% Confidence intervals, (CI)) = 1.75 (1.62, 1.89) and 1.53 (1.44, 1.62), respectively. In addition, media channels such as "Newspapers or the Novel Coronavirus Expert Meeting", "Medical or Local government", and "Non-TV" were associated with the unwilling group: OR (95% CI) were 2.00 (1.47, 2.75), 3.13 (2.58, 3.81), and 2.25 (1.84, 2.77), respectively. Interpretation: To effectively approach COVID-19 vaccine unsure and unwilling groups, generation-specific online and offline media campaigns should be optimized to the type of vaccine attitude. Funding: Funded by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan (H29-Gantaisaku-ippan-009) and the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) (JP20fk0108535).

5.
Int J Epidemiol ; 51(1): 75-84, 2022 02 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1493814

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to be a major global health burden. This study aims to estimate the all-cause excess mortality occurring in the COVID-19 outbreak in Japan, 2020, by sex and age group. METHODS: Daily time series of mortality for the period January 2015-December 2020 in all 47 prefectures of Japan were obtained from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan. A two-stage interrupted time-series design was used to calculate excess mortality. In the first stage, we estimated excess mortality by prefecture using quasi-Poisson regression models in combination with distributed lag non-linear models, adjusting for seasonal and long-term variations, weather conditions and influenza activity. In the second stage, we used a random-effects multivariate meta-analysis to synthesize prefecture-specific estimates at the nationwide level. RESULTS: In 2020, we estimated an all-cause excess mortality of -20 982 deaths [95% empirical confidence intervals (eCI): -38 367 to -5472] in Japan, which corresponded to a percentage excess of -1.7% (95% eCI: -3.1 to -0.5) relative to the expected value. Reduced deaths were observed for both sexes and in all age groups except those aged <60 and 70-79 years. CONCLUSIONS: All-cause mortality during the COVID-19 outbreak in Japan in 2020 was decreased compared with a historical baseline. Further evaluation of cause-specific excess mortality is warranted.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Disease Outbreaks , Female , Humans , Interrupted Time Series Analysis , Japan/epidemiology , Male , Mortality , SARS-CoV-2
6.
BMC Infect Dis ; 21(1): 820, 2021 Aug 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1477273

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: To fight against COVID-19, many policymakers are wavering on stricter public health interventions. Examining the different strategies both in and out of China's Hubei province, which contained the epidemic in late February 2020, could yield valuable guidance for the management of future pandemics. This study assessed the response process and estimated the time-varying effects of the Hubei control strategy. Analysis of these strategies provides insights for the design and implementation of future policy interventions. METHODS: We retrospectively compared the spread and control of COVID-19 between China's Hubei (excluding Wuhan) and non-Hubei areas using data that includes case reports, human mobility, and public health interventions from 1 January to 29 February 2020. Static and dynamic risk assessment models were developed to statistically investigate the effects of the Hubei control strategy on the virus case growth after adjusting importation risk and policy response timing with the non-Hubei strategy as a control. RESULTS: The analysis detected much higher but differential importation risk in Hubei. The response timing largely coincided with the importation risk in non-Hubei areas, but Hubei areas showed an opposite pattern. Rather than a specific intervention assessment, a comprehensive comparison showed that the Hubei control strategy implemented severe interventions characterized by unprecedentedly strict and 'monitored' self-quarantine at home, while the non-Hubei strategy included physical distancing measures to reduce contact among individuals within or between populations. In contrast with the non-Hubei control strategy, the Hubei strategy showed a much higher, non-linear and gradually diminishing protective effect with at least 3 times fewer cases. CONCLUSIONS: A risk-based control strategy was crucial to the design of an effective response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Our study demonstrates that the stricter Hubei strategy achieves a stronger controlling effect compared to other strategies. These findings highlight the health benefits and policy impacts of precise and differentiated strategies informed by constant monitoring of outbreak risk.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , COVID-19/epidemiology , China/epidemiology , Humans , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
7.
NPJ Digit Med ; 4(1): 146, 2021 Oct 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1462044

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the global need for reliable models of disease spread. We propose an AI-augmented forecast modeling framework that provides daily predictions of the expected number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths, cases, and hospitalizations during the following 4 weeks. We present an international, prospective evaluation of our models' performance across all states and counties in the USA and prefectures in Japan. Nationally, incident mean absolute percentage error (MAPE) for predicting COVID-19 associated deaths during prospective deployment remained consistently <8% (US) and <29% (Japan), while cumulative MAPE remained <2% (US) and <10% (Japan). We show that our models perform well even during periods of considerable change in population behavior, and are robust to demographic differences across different geographic locations. We further demonstrate that our framework provides meaningful explanatory insights with the models accurately adapting to local and national policy interventions. Our framework enables counterfactual simulations, which indicate continuing Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions alongside vaccinations is essential for faster recovery from the pandemic, delaying the application of interventions has a detrimental effect, and allow exploration of the consequences of different vaccination strategies. The COVID-19 pandemic remains a global emergency. In the face of substantial challenges ahead, the approach presented here has the potential to inform critical decisions.

8.
Stat Med ; 40(28): 6277-6294, 2021 12 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1396959

ABSTRACT

The demand for rapid surveillance and early detection of local outbreaks has been growing recently. The rapid surveillance can select timely and appropriate interventions toward controlling the spread of emerging infectious diseases, such as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The Farrington algorithm was originally proposed by Farrington et al (1996), extended by Noufaily et al (2012), and is commonly used to estimate excess death. However, one of the major challenges in implementing this algorithm is the lack of historical information required to train it, especially for emerging diseases. Without sufficient training data the estimation/prediction accuracy of this algorithm can suffer leading to poor outbreak detection. We propose a new statistical algorithm-the geographically weighted generalized Farrington (GWGF) algorithm-by incorporating both geographically varying and geographically invariant covariates, as well as geographical information to analyze time series count data sampled from a spatially correlated process for estimating excess death. The algorithm is a type of local quasi-likelihood-based regression with geographical weights and is designed to achieve a stable detection of outbreaks even when the number of time points is small. We validate the outbreak detection performance by using extensive numerical experiments and real-data analysis in Japan during COVID-19 pandemic. We show that the GWGF algorithm succeeds in improving recall without reducing the level of precision compared with the conventional Farrington algorithm.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Algorithms , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Humans , Likelihood Functions , SARS-CoV-2
9.
Sci Prog ; 104(3): 368504211029793, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1369465

ABSTRACT

Strong lockdowns to control COVID-19 pandemic have been enforced globally and strongly restricted social activities with consequent negative effects on mental health. Japan has effectively implemented a unique voluntary policy to control COVID-19, but the mental health impact of the policy has not been examined on a large scale. In this study, we examined the effect of the first declaration on the mental health of affected residents. We used population-level questionnaire data of 17,400 people living under the state of emergency and 9208 who were not through a social-networking-service app and applied a difference-in-differences regression model to estimate the causal effect of the declaration of the state of emergency on psychological wellbeing, stratified by job category. No statistically significant effect of the declaration was observed among all job categories. This suggests that residents' psychological situation has gradually changed, possibly influenced by other factors such as the surrounding environment, rather than the declaration itself. Given that Japan has a unique policy to control COVID-19 instead of a strict lockdown, our results showed the Japanese-style policy may serve as a form of harm reduction strategy, to control the epidemic with minimal psychological harm, and enable a policy that balances disease control and mental health. Caution is necessary that this study used self-reported data from a limited time period before and after the first declaration in April 2020.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/psychology , Mental Health/statistics & numerical data , Quarantine/psychology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Japan , Mobile Applications , Social Networking
10.
Psychiatry Res ; 305: 114173, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1364413

ABSTRACT

Using daily vital statistics data from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, we provide the first weekly and age-group-specific estimates of the additional suicide burden during the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan by gender, from January through November 2020. Our results indicate that compared with the previous five years, suicide cases in 2020 in Japan have increased from late July to November for women in all age groups and for men in the 20-29 and 80+ years age group. Targeted interventions based on age and gender might be more effective in reducing suicide during the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Suicide , Vital Statistics , Child, Preschool , Female , Humans , Japan/epidemiology , Male , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
11.
J Urban Health ; 98(5): 635-641, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1351336

ABSTRACT

In the COVID-19 era, movement restrictions are crucial to slow virus transmission and have been implemented in most parts of the world, including Japan. To find new insights on human mobility and movement restrictions encouraged (but not forced) by the emergency declaration in Japan, we analyzed mobility data at 35 major stations and downtown areas in Japan-each defined as an area overlaid by several 125-meter grids-from September 1, 2019 to March 19, 2021. Data on the total number of unique individuals per hour passing through each area were obtained from Yahoo Japan Corporation (i.e., more than 13,500 data points for each area). We examined the temporal trend in the ratio of the rolling seven-day daily average of the total population to a baseline on January 16, 2020, by ten-year age groups in five time frames. We demonstrated that the degree and trend of mobility decline after the declaration of a state of emergency varies across age groups and even at the subregional level. We demonstrated that monitoring dynamic geographic and temporal mobility information stratified by detailed population characteristics can help guide not only exit strategies from an ongoing emergency declaration, but also initial response strategies before the next possible resurgence. Combining such detailed data with data on vaccination coverage and COVID-19 incidence (including the status of the health care delivery system) can help governments and local authorities develop community-specific mobility restriction policies. This could include strengthening incentives to stay home and raising awareness of cognitive errors that weaken people's resolve to refrain from nonessential movement.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Humans , Japan/epidemiology , Longitudinal Studies , SARS-CoV-2
12.
Lancet Reg Health West Pac ; 14: 100223, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1331033

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Identifying and understanding reasons for being unsure or unwilling regarding intention to be vaccinated against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) may help to inform future public health messages aimed at increasing vaccination coverage. We analyzed a broad array of individual's psychological dispositions with regard to decision-making about COVID-19 vaccination in Japan. METHODS: A nationally representative cross-sectional web survey was conducted with 30053 Japanese adults aged 20 years or older at the end of February 2021. In addition to the question on the individual's intention to be vaccinated against COVID-19, respondents were asked about their sociodemographic, health-related, and psychological characteristics as well as information sources about COVID-19 and their levels of trust. Also, those who responded 'not sure' or 'no' regarding intention to take COVID-19 vaccine were asked why. Multinomial logistic regression with sparse group Lasso (Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator) penalty was used to compute adjusted odds ratios for factors associated with the intention (not sure/no versus yes). FINDINGS: The percentages of respondents who answered 'not sure' or 'no' regarding intention to be vaccinated against COVID-19 vaccine were 32.9% and 11.0%, respectively. After adjusting for covariates, the perceived risks of COVID-19, perceived risk of a COVID-19 vaccine, perceived benefits of a COVID-19 vaccine, trust in scientists and public authorities, and the belief that healthcare workers should be vaccinated were significantly associated with vaccination intention. Several sources of information about COVID-19 were also significantly associated with vaccination intention, including physicians, nurses, and television, medical information sites with lower odds of being unsure or unwilling, and internet news sites, YouTube, family members, and scientists and researchers with higher odds. The higher the level of trust in television as a source of COVID-19 information, the higher the odds of responding 'not sure' (odds ratio 1.11, 95% confidence interval 1.01-1.21). We also demonstrated that many respondents presented concerns about the side effects and safety of a COVID-19 vaccine as a major reason for being unsure or unwilling. To decide whether or not to get the vaccine, many respondents requested more information about the compatibilities between the vaccine and their personal health conditions, whether other people had been vaccinated, the effectiveness of vaccines against variants, and doctors' recommendations. INTERPRETATION: Our findings suggest that public health messaging based on the sociodemographic and psychological characteristics of those who are unsure or unwilling regarding intention to be vaccinated against COVID-19 vaccine may help to increase vaccine uptake amongst this population. FUNDING: The present work was supported in part by a grant from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan (H29-Gantaisaku-ippan-009).

13.
Lancet Reg Health West Pac ; 3: 100016, 2020 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1281486

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: On April 7, 2020, the Japanese government declared a state of emergency regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Given the nation-wide spread of the coronavirus in major Japanese cities and the rapid increase in the number of cases with untraceable infection routes, large-scale monitoring for capturing the current epidemiological situation of COVID-19 in Japan is urgently required. METHODS: A chatbot-based healthcare system named COOPERA (COvid-19: Operation for Personalized Empowerment to Render smart prevention And AN care seeking) was developed to surveil the Japanese epidemiological situation in real-time. COOPERA asked questions regarding personal information, location, preventive actions, COVID-19 related symptoms and their residence. Empirical Bayes estimates of the age-sex-standardized incidence rate and disease mapping approach using scan statistics were utilized to identify the geographical distribution of the symptoms in Tokyo and their spatial correlation r with the identified COVID-19 cases. FINDINGS: We analyzed 353,010 participants from Tokyo recruited from 27th March to 6th April 2020. The mean (SD) age of participants was 42.7 (12.3), and 63.4%, 36.4% or 0.2% were female, male, or others, respectively. 95.6% of participants had no subjective symptoms. We identified several geographical clusters with high spatial correlation (r = 0.9), especially in downtown areas in central Tokyo such as Shibuya and Shinjuku. INTERPRETATION: With the global spread of COVID-19, medical resources are being depleted. A new system to monitor the epidemiological situation, COOPERA, can provide insights to assist political decision to tackle the epidemic. In addition, given that Japan has not had a strong lockdown policy to weaken the spread of the infection, our result would be useful for preparing for the second wave in other countries during the next flu season without a strong lockdown. FUNDING: The present work was supported in part by a grant from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan (H29-Gantaisaku-ippan-009).

15.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(6)2021 03 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1154376

ABSTRACT

We evaluated the impact of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on healthcare access in Japan in terms of the number of outpatients and hospitalized patients as well as the length of hospital stays, during the first wave of the pandemic, up to June 2020. This observational study evaluated the monthly average number of outpatients per day at hospitals, the average number of hospitalized patients per day, and the average length of hospital stays per patient, from December 2010 to June 2020, using the hospital reports data, which are open aggregated data on the utilization of hospitals from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. These numbers were compared with those from the same period of previous years, using a quasi-Poisson regression model. We found a nationwide decrease in the number of outpatients in general hospitals and hospitalized patients, particularly in long-term care beds in Japan, as well as the excess length of hospital stays among psychiatric care patients during the first wave of the COVID-19. This limited access to healthcare demonstrated the importance of the long-term health monitoring of vulnerable populations and the need for urgent management support to healthcare facilities in preparation for possible prolonged pandemics in the future.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Coronavirus , Humans , Japan/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
16.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 27(3): 789-795, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1100024

ABSTRACT

To provide insight into the mortality burden of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Japan, we estimated the excess all-cause deaths for each week during the pandemic, January-May 2020, by prefecture and age group. We applied quasi-Poisson regression models to vital statistics data. Excess deaths were expressed as the range of differences between the observed and expected number of all-cause deaths and the 95% upper bound of the 1-sided prediction interval. A total of 208-4,322 all-cause excess deaths at the national level indicated a 0.03%-0.72% excess in the observed number of deaths. Prefecture and age structure consistency between the reported COVID-19 deaths and our estimates was weak, suggesting the need to use cause-specific analyses to distinguish between direct and indirect consequences of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/diagnosis , Cause of Death , Humans , Japan/epidemiology , Mortality , SARS-CoV-2
17.
BMJ Open ; 11(2): e042002, 2021 02 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1085262

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: On 7 April 2020, the Japanese government declared a state of emergency in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak. To estimate the impact of the declaration on regional cities with low numbers of COVID-19 cases, large-scale surveillance to capture the current epidemiological situation of COVID-19 was urgently conducted in this study. DESIGN: Cohort study. SETTING: Social networking service (SNS)-based online survey conducted in five prefectures of Japan: Tottori, Kagawa, Shimane, Tokushima and Okayama. PARTICIPANTS: 127 121 participants from the five prefectures surveyed between 24 March and 5 May 2020. INTERVENTIONS: An SNS-based healthcare system named COOPERA (COvid-19: Operation for Personalized Empowerment to Render smart prevention And care seeking) was launched. It asks questions regarding postcode, personal information, preventive actions, and current and past symptoms related to COVID-19. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: Empirical Bayes estimates of age-sex-standardised incidence rate (EBSIR) of symptoms and the spatial correlation between the number of those who reported having symptoms and the number of COVID-19 cases were examined to identify the geographical distribution of symptoms in the five prefectures. RESULTS: 97.8% of participants had no subjective symptoms. We identified several geographical clusters of fever with significant spatial correlation (r=0.67) with the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, especially in the urban centres of prefectural capital cities. CONCLUSIONS: Given that there are still several high-risk areas measured by EBSIR, careful discussion on which areas should be reopened at the end of the state of emergency is urgently required using real-time SNS system to monitor the nationwide epidemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Social Networking , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Bayes Theorem , Cohort Studies , Epidemiological Monitoring , Female , Humans , Japan/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Young Adult
18.
Circ Rep ; 3(3): 137-141, 2021 Feb 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1074161

ABSTRACT

Background: From the early phase of the Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, cardiologists have paid attention not only to COVID-19-associated cardiovascular sequelae, but also to treatment strategies for rescheduling non-urgent procedures. The chief objective of this study was to explore confirmed COVID-19 cardiology case experiences and departmental policies, and their regional heterogeneity in Japan. Methods and Results: We performed a retrospective analysis of a nationwide survey performed by the Japanese Circulation Society on April 13, 2020. The questionnaire included cardiology department experience with confirmed COVID-19 cases and restriction policies, and was sent to 1,360 certified cardiology training hospitals. Descriptive analysis and spatial autocorrelation analysis of each response were performed to reveal the heterogeneity of departmental policies. The response rate was 56.8% (773 replies). Only 16% of all responding hospitals experienced a COVID-19 cardiology case. High-risk procedures were restricted in more than one-fifth of hospitals, including transesophageal echocardiography (34.9%) and scheduled catheterization (39.5%). The presence of a cardiologist in the COVID-19 team, the number of board-certified cardiologists, any medical resource shortage and a state of emergency were positively correlated with any type of restriction. Conclusions: We found both low clinical case experiences with COVID-19 and restrictions of cardiovascular procedures during the first COVID-19 wave in Japan. Restrictions arising as a result of COVID-19 were affected by hospital- and country-level variables, such as a state of emergency.

19.
Sci Total Environ ; 768: 144723, 2021 May 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1065583

ABSTRACT

In Japan, in response to the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), a 'new normal' in the era of the COVID-19 was proposed by the government, which calls for thorough wearing of masks as an infection control measure in the era of the COVID-19, but related heat illness has been a great concern this summer. We applied quasi-Poisson regression models to the daily number of emergency transportations due to heat illness from 2008 to 2020 from the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Japan, to estimate the expected weekly number of emergency transportations from heat illness, with adjustment for their long-term trend and the weather conditions, including temperatures. We found that, at the national level, the number of heat illness emergency transports did not significantly increase or decrease from the annual trend in 2020. By prefecture, on the other hand, there were some prefectures in which the number of heat illness emergency transports was less than the average year, and most of them were in the week of August 10-16. By age group, the number of heat illness emergency transports in the 0-17 and 18-64 age groups was particularly low in some prefectures, and by severity, those in mild cases was particularly low. A caution is necessary that there is a possibility that a decrease in cases possibly associated with COVID-19 measures, such as, outdoor activity restrictions at schools/universities and cancellation of public events, may offset the possible increase in heat illness cases occurring elsewhere associated with wearing masks. Given that the end of the COVID-19 pandemic is not expected yet, continuous and appropriate awareness-raising activities to prevent heat-related illness remain important.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Coronavirus , Heat Stress Disorders , Humans , Japan , Life Style , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
20.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 3109, 2021 02 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1065947

ABSTRACT

The international spread of COVID-19 infection has attracted global attention, but the impact of local or domestic travel restriction on public transportation network remains unclear. Passenger volume data for the domestic public transportation network in Japan and the time at which the first confirmed COVID-19 case was observed in each prefecture were extracted from public data sources. A survival approach in which a hazard was modeled as a function of the closeness centrality on the network was utilized to estimate the risk of importation of COVID-19 in each prefecture. A total of 46 prefectures with imported cases were identified. Hypothetical scenario analyses indicated that both strategies of locking down the metropolitan areas and restricting domestic airline travel would be equally effective in reducing the risk of importation of COVID-19. While caution is necessary that the data were limited to June 2020 when the pandemic was in its initial stage and that no other virus spreading routes have been considered, domestic travel restrictions were effective to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on public transportation network in Japan. Instead of lockdown that might seriously damage the economy, milder travel restrictions could have the similar impact on controlling the domestic transmission of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Travel/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Japan , Pandemics , Transportation/statistics & numerical data
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