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PLoS One ; 15(9): e0239113, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1383734


Social distancing interventions can be effective against epidemics but are potentially detrimental for the economy. Businesses that rely heavily on face-to-face communication or close physical proximity when producing a product or providing a service are particularly vulnerable. There is, however, no systematic evidence about the role of human interactions across different lines of business and about which will be the most limited by social distancing. Here we provide theory-based measures of the reliance of U.S. businesses on human interaction, detailed by industry and geographic location. We find that, before the pandemic hit, 43 million workers worked in occupations that rely heavily on face-to-face communication or require close physical proximity to other workers. Many of these workers lost their jobs since. Consistently with our model, employment losses have been largest in sectors that rely heavily on customer contact and where these contacts dropped the most: retail, hotels and restaurants, arts and entertainment and schools. Our results can help quantify the economic costs of social distancing.

Commerce/trends , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Employment/trends , Infection Control/economics , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , COVID-19 , Commerce/standards , Commerce/statistics & numerical data , Coronavirus Infections/economics , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Datasets as Topic , Employment/economics , Employment/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Infection Control/methods , Infection Control/standards , Pandemics/economics , Pneumonia, Viral/economics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , SARS-CoV-2 , United States
Am J Clin Pathol ; 153(6): 715-718, 2020 05 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1109161


OBJECTIVES: To establish the optimal parameters for group testing of pooled specimens for the detection of SARS-CoV-2. METHODS: The most efficient pool size was determined to be five specimens using a web-based application. From this analysis, 25 experimental pools were created using 50 µL from one SARS-CoV-2 positive nasopharyngeal specimen mixed with 4 negative patient specimens (50 µL each) for a total volume of 250 µL. Viral RNA was subsequently extracted from each pool and tested using the CDC SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR assay. Positive pools were consequently split into individual specimens and tested by extraction and PCR. This method was also tested on an unselected group of 60 nasopharyngeal specimens grouped into 12 pools. RESULTS: All 25 pools were positive with cycle threshold (Ct) values within 0 and 5.03 Ct of the original individual specimens. The analysis of 60 specimens determined that 2 pools were positive followed by identification of 2 individual specimens among the 60 tested. This testing was accomplished while using 22 extractions/PCR tests, a savings of 38 reactions. CONCLUSIONS: When the incidence rate of SARS-CoV-2 infection is 10% or less, group testing will result in the saving of reagents and personnel time with an overall increase in testing capability of at least 69%.

Clinical Laboratory Techniques/economics , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Medical Laboratory Personnel/economics , Specimen Handling/economics , Specimen Handling/methods , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , COVID-19 Testing , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/instrumentation , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/standards , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/economics , Humans , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/isolation & purification , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction/economics , SARS-CoV-2 , Specimen Handling/standards
Pan Afr Med J ; 35(Suppl 2): 1, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1106450


The epidemic of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in China caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has become a global concern and subsequently labeled a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11th. As the world mobilizes to contain the COVID-19, scientists and public health experts are increasingly alarmed about the potentially catastrophic effects of an outbreak in Africa. The establishment of Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention by the Africa Union in 2017 was an unprecedented move toward strengthening national responses, so far enabling all fifty member states with confirmed cases of COVID-19 to adequately respond, break chains of transmission and effectively contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2. We enter an uncertain and challenging period that may severely test the preparedness, organizational resource and resilience of African states and the fabric of their societies. However, we speculate that the fear associated with COVID-19 may also lead to some of the long-standing messages about simple measures to reduce the spread, such as hand washing, finally becoming absorbed and more universally adopted by health workers and the public. Is it possible that regardless of the terrible threat posed by SARS-CoV-2, the increased adoption of these health protection measures may result in a reduction in the spread of other infectious diseases?

Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Africa/epidemiology , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/economics , Coronavirus Infections/mortality , Hand Disinfection , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola/epidemiology , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola/mortality , Humans , International Cooperation , Pandemics/economics , Pneumonia, Viral/economics , Pneumonia, Viral/mortality , SARS-CoV-2 , Universal Precautions
J Occup Environ Med ; 62(9): 686-691, 2020 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1105010


OBJECTIVE: To determine whether job insecurity due to COVID-19 and financial concern were associated with worse mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHOD: Participants (N = 474 employed U.S. individuals) completed an online survey from April 6 to 12, 2020. Linear regressions were used to examine factors associated with mental health. RESULTS: After accounting for demographic characteristics, health status, other COVID-19 experiences, and anxiety symptoms, greater job insecurity due to COVID-19 was related to greater depressive symptoms. Conversely, after accounting for covariates and depressive symptoms, greater financial concern was related to greater anxiety symptoms. Further, greater job insecurity was indirectly related to greater anxiety symptoms due to greater financial concern. CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest that employers should aim to reduce job insecurity and financial concern among employees during the COVID-19 pandemic to address the associated mental health consequences.

Anxiety/epidemiology , Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/psychology , Depression/epidemiology , Employment/psychology , Mental Health/statistics & numerical data , Pneumonia, Viral/psychology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/economics , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics/economics , Pneumonia, Viral/economics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , United States , Young Adult