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Swiss Med Wkly ; 150: w20295, 2020 05 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2268435


Following the rapid dissemination of COVID-19 cases in Switzerland, large-scale non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) were implemented by the cantons and the federal government between 28 February and 20 March 2020. Estimates of the impact of these interventions on SARS-CoV-2 transmission are critical for decision making in this and future outbreaks. We here aim to assess the impact of these NPIs on disease transmission by estimating changes in the basic reproduction number (R0) at national and cantonal levels in relation to the timing of these NPIs. We estimated the time-varying R0 nationally and in eleven cantons by fitting a stochastic transmission model explicitly simulating within-hospital dynamics. We used individual-level data from more than 1000 hospitalised patients in Switzerland and public daily reports of hospitalisations and deaths. We estimated the national R0 to be 2.8 (95% confidence interval 2.1–3.8) at the beginning of the epidemic. Starting from around 7 March, we found a strong reduction in time-varying R0 with a 86% median decrease (95% quantile range [QR] 79–90%) to a value of 0.40 (95% QR 0.3–0.58) in the period of 29 March to 5 April. At the cantonal level, R0 decreased over the course of the epidemic between 53% and 92%. Reductions in time-varying R0 were synchronous with changes in mobility patterns as estimated through smartphone activity, which started before the official implementation of NPIs. We inferred that most of the reduction of transmission is attributable to behavioural changes as opposed to natural immunity, the latter accounting for only about 4% of the total reduction in effective transmission. As Switzerland considers relaxing some of the restrictions of social mixing, current estimates of time-varying R0 well below one are promising. However, as of 24 April 2020, at least 96% (95% QR 95.7–96.4%) of the Swiss population remains susceptible to SARS-CoV-2. These results warrant a cautious relaxation of social distance practices and close monitoring of changes in both the basic and effective reproduction numbers.

Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Communicable Disease Control , Coronavirus Infections , Disease Transmission, Infectious , Pandemics/statistics & numerical data , Pneumonia, Viral , COVID-19 , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Communicable Disease Control/organization & administration , Communicable Disease Control/statistics & numerical data , Communicable Diseases, Emerging/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Disease Transmission, Infectious/prevention & control , Disease Transmission, Infectious/statistics & numerical data , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Models, Statistical , Mortality , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , SARS-CoV-2 , Space-Time Clustering , Stochastic Processes
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 212, 2022 01 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1890215


In response to the COVID19 pandemic, many countries have implemented lockdowns in multiple phases to ensure social distancing and quarantining of the infected subjects. Subsequent unlocks to reopen the economies started next waves of infection and imposed an extra burden on quarantine to keep the reproduction number ([Formula: see text]) < 1. However, most countries could not effectively contain the infection spread, suggesting identification of the potential sources weakening the effect of lockdowns could help design better informed lockdown-unlock cycles in the future. Here, through building quantitative epidemic models and analyzing the metadata of 50 countries from across the continents we first found that the estimated value of [Formula: see text], adjusted w.r.t the distribution of medical facilities and virus clades correlates strongly with the testing rates in a country. Since the testing capacity of a country is limited by its medical resources, we investigated if a cost-benefit trade-off can be designed connecting testing rate and extent of unlocking. We present a strategy to optimize this trade-off in a country specific manner by providing a quantitative estimate of testing and quarantine rates required to allow different extents of unlocks while aiming to maintain [Formula: see text]. We further show that a small fraction of superspreaders can dramatically increase the number of infected individuals even during strict lockdowns by strengthening the positive feedback loop driving infection spread. Harnessing the benefit of optimized country-specific testing rates would critically require minimizing the movement of these superspreaders via strict social distancing norms, such that the positive feedback driven switch-like exponential spread phase of infection can be avoided/delayed.

COVID-19/prevention & control , Contact Tracing , Disease Transmission, Infectious/prevention & control , Epidemiological Models , Physical Distancing , Quarantine , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , Virus Replication , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Testing , Carrier State , Humans , Metadata , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Time Factors
Infect Dis Clin North Am ; 35(3): 827-839, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1778170


Health care-associated infections (HAIs) account for many morbidity and mortality worldwide, with disproportionate adverse effects in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Many factors contribute to the impact in LMIC, including lack of infrastructure, inconsistent surveillance, deficiency in trained personnel and infection control programs, and poverty-related factors. Therefore, optimal approaches must be tailored for LMIC and balance effectiveness and cost in the control of HAIs.

Cross Infection/prevention & control , Developing Countries , Disease Transmission, Infectious/prevention & control , Infection Control/methods , Delivery of Health Care , Humans , Population Surveillance , Poverty