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1.
Public Health ; 205: 182-186, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1751168

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: In 2015, the Republic of Georgia initiated a National Hepatitis C Elimination Program, with a goal of 90% reduction in prevalence of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections by 2020. In this article, we explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the 2020 hepatitis C cascade of care in Georgia. STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective analytic study. METHODS: We used a national screening registry that includes hospitals, blood banks, antenatal clinics, harm reduction sites, and other programs and services to collect data on hepatitis C screening. A separate national treatment database was used to collect data on viremia and diagnostic testing, treatment initiation, and outcome including testing for and achieving sustained virologic response (SVR). We used these databases to create hepatitis C care cascades for 2020 and 2019. Bivariate associations for demographic characteristics and screening locations per year and care cascade comparisons were assessed using a chi-squared test. RESULTS: In 2020 compared to 2019, the total number of persons screened for HCV antibodies decreased by 25% (from 975,416 to 726,735), 59% fewer people with viremic infection were treated for HCV infection (3188 vs. 7868), 46% fewer achieved SVR (1345 vs. 2495), a significantly smaller percentage of persons with viremic infection initiated treatment for HCV (59% vs. 62%), while the percentage of persons who achieved SVR (99.2% vs. 99.3%) remained stable. CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on the hepatitis C elimination program in Georgia. To ensure Georgia reaches its elimination goals, mitigating unintended consequences of delayed diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis C due to the COVID-19 pandemic are paramount.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hepatitis C, Chronic , Hepatitis C , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/epidemiology , Female , Georgia/epidemiology , Georgia (Republic)/epidemiology , Hepacivirus , Hepatitis C/diagnosis , Hepatitis C/epidemiology , Hepatitis C, Chronic/diagnosis , Hepatitis C, Chronic/drug therapy , Hepatitis C, Chronic/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Pregnancy , Retrospective Studies
2.
Ann Intern Med ; 174(5): 649-654, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1726736

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Identifying occupational risk factors for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection among health care workers (HCWs) can improve HCW and patient safety. OBJECTIVE: To quantify demographic, occupational, and community risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity among HCWs in a large health care system. DESIGN: A logistic regression model was fitted to data from a cross-sectional survey conducted in April to June 2020, linking risk factors for occupational and community exposure to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) with SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity. SETTING: A large academic health care system in the Atlanta, Georgia, metropolitan area. PARTICIPANTS: Employees and medical staff members elected to participate in SARS-CoV-2 serology testing offered to all HCWs as part of a quality initiative and completed a survey on exposure to COVID-19 and use of personal protective equipment. MEASUREMENTS: Demographic risk factors for COVID-19, residential ZIP code incidence of COVID-19, occupational exposure to HCWs or patients who tested positive on polymerase chain reaction test, and use of personal protective equipment as potential risk factors for infection. The outcome was SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity. RESULTS: Adjusted SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity was estimated to be 3.8% (95% CI, 3.4% to 4.3%) (positive, n = 582) among the 10 275 HCWs (35% of the Emory Healthcare workforce) who participated in the survey. Community contact with a person known or suspected to have COVID-19 (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.9 [CI, 1.4 to 2.6]; 77 positive persons [10.3%]) and community COVID-19 incidence (aOR, 1.5 [CI, 1.0 to 2.2]) increased the odds of infection. Black individuals were at high risk (aOR, 2.1 [CI, 1.7 to 2.6]; 238 positive persons [8.3%]). LIMITATIONS: Participation rates were modest and key workplace exposures, including job and infection prevention practices, changed rapidly in the early phases of the pandemic. CONCLUSION: Demographic and community risk factors, including contact with a COVID-19-positive person and Black race, are more strongly associated with SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity among HCWs than is exposure in the workplace. PRIMARY FUNDING SOURCE: Emory COVID-19 Response Collaborative.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Health Personnel , Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional , Occupational Diseases/epidemiology , Occupational Exposure/adverse effects , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Adult , COVID-19/ethnology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Georgia/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Occupational Diseases/ethnology , Pandemics , Personal Protective Equipment , Pneumonia, Viral/ethnology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires , United States/epidemiology
3.
Am J Public Health ; 112(3): 393-396, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1703908

ABSTRACT

Refugee and immigrant populations are extremely vulnerable to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 vaccination is a critical tool in mitigating these consequences, but these same communities often lack access to COVID-19 vaccines. We describe the efforts of a community-based primary care clinic in Clarkston, Georgia to provide access to COVID-19 vaccines in a culturally sensitive manner to address this health disparity and vaccine hesitancy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/supply & distribution , COVID-19/prevention & control , Emigrants and Immigrants , Immunization Programs/organization & administration , Refugees , COVID-19/ethnology , Cultural Competency , Georgia/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Trust
4.
J Infect Dis ; 225(3): 396-403, 2022 02 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1672203

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Reported coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases underestimate true severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections. Data on all infections, including asymptomatic infections, are needed. To minimize biases in estimates from reported cases and seroprevalence surveys, we conducted a household-based probability survey and estimated cumulative incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infections adjusted for antibody waning. METHODS: From August to December 2020, we mailed specimen collection kits (nasal swabs and blood spots) to a random sample of Georgia addresses. One household adult completed a survey and returned specimens for virus and antibody testing. We estimated cumulative incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infections adjusted for waning antibodies, reported fraction, and infection fatality ratio (IFR). Differences in seropositivity among demographic, geographic, and clinical subgroups were explored with weighted prevalence ratios (PR). RESULTS: Among 1370 participants, adjusted cumulative incidence of SARS-CoV-2 was 16.1% (95% credible interval [CrI], 13.5%-19.2%) as of 16 November 2020. The reported fraction was 26.6% and IFR was 0.78%. Non-Hispanic black (PR, 2.03; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.0-4.1) and Hispanic adults (PR, 1.98; 95% CI, .74-5.31) were more likely than non-Hispanic white adults to be seropositive. CONCLUSIONS: As of mid-November 2020, 1 in 6 adults in Georgia had been infected with SARS-CoV-2. The COVID-19 epidemic in Georgia is likely substantially underestimated by reported cases.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/epidemiology , Georgia/epidemiology , Humans , Incidence , Seroepidemiologic Studies
5.
Clin Infect Dis ; 74(2): 319-326, 2022 01 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1662107

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: To inform prevention strategies, we assessed the extent of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission and settings in which transmission occurred in a Georgia public school district. METHODS: During 1 December 2020-22 January 2021, SARS-CoV-2-infected index cases and their close contacts in schools were identified by school and public health officials. For in-school contacts, we assessed symptoms and offered SARS-CoV-2 reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing; performed epidemiologic investigations and whole-genome sequencing to identify in-school transmission; and calculated secondary attack rate (SAR) by school setting (eg, sports, elementary school classroom), index case role (ie, staff, student), and index case symptomatic status. RESULTS: We identified 86 index cases and 1119 contacts, 688 (61.5%) of whom received testing. Fifty-nine of 679 (8.7%) contacts tested positive; 15 of 86 (17.4%) index cases resulted in ≥2 positive contacts. Among 55 persons testing positive with available symptom data, 31 (56.4%) were asymptomatic. Highest SARs were in indoor, high-contact sports settings (23.8% [95% confidence interval {CI}, 12.7%-33.3%]), staff meetings/lunches (18.2% [95% CI, 4.5%-31.8%]), and elementary school classrooms (9.5% [95% CI, 6.5%-12.5%]). The SAR was higher for staff (13.1% [95% CI, 9.0%-17.2%]) vs student index cases (5.8% [95% CI, 3.6%-8.0%]) and for symptomatic (10.9% [95% CI, 8.1%-13.9%]) vs asymptomatic index cases (3.0% [95% CI, 1.0%-5.5%]). CONCLUSIONS: Indoor sports may pose a risk to the safe operation of in-person learning. Preventing infection in staff members, through measures that include coronavirus disease 2019 vaccination, is critical to reducing in-school transmission. Because many positive contacts were asymptomatic, contact tracing should be paired with testing, regardless of symptoms.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Contact Tracing , Georgia/epidemiology , Humans , Schools , Students
6.
J Natl Med Assoc ; 114(1): 94-103, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1620864

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To understand perceived quality of obstetric care following changes to the structure of care in a safety-net institution during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: We conducted a mixed-methods study including a web-based survey (n = 67) and in-depth interviews (n = 16) between October 2020 and January 2021. We present a descriptive analysis of quantitative results and key qualitative themes on reactions to changes and drivers of perceived quality. RESULTS: Reported quality was high for in-person and phone visits (median subscale responses: 5/5). Respondents were willing to include phone visits in care for a future pregnancy (77.8% (49)) but preferred in-person visits (84.1% (53)). In interviews, provider communication was the key driver of quality. Respondents found changes to care to be inconvenient but acceptable. CONCLUSIONS: To improve satisfaction with changes to care, health systems should ensure that relationship building remains a priority and offer patients information about the reason behind changes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Telemedicine , COVID-19/epidemiology , Female , Georgia/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Personal Satisfaction , Pregnancy , SARS-CoV-2 , Safety-net Providers , Telemedicine/methods
8.
Soc Sci Med ; 292: 114549, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1510306

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: This study uses multiple measures of excess deaths to analyze racial disparities in COVID-19 mortality across Georgia. METHODS: The Georgia Department of Public Health provided monthly mortality data for 2010-2020 stratified by race/ethnicity, age, county, and recorded cause of death. We first calculate crude mortality rates by health district during the time period for all groups for March through June for our historical period to identify significant time-series outliers in 2020 distinguishable from general trend variations. We then calculate the mean and standard deviation of mortality rates by age and racial subgroup to create historic confidence intervals that contextualize rates in 2020. Lastly, we use risk ratios to identify disparities in mortality between Black and White mortality rates both in the 2010-2019 period and in 2020. RESULTS: Time-series analysis identified three health districts with significant increases in mortality in 2020, located in metro Atlanta and Southwest Georgia. Mortality rates decreased sharply in 2020 for children in both racial categories in all sections of the state, but rose in a majority of districts for both categories in adult and older populations. Risk ratios also increased significantly in 2020 for children and older populations, showing rising disparities in mortality during the pandemic even as crude mortality rates declined for children classified as Black. CONCLUSIONS: Increased mortality during the COVID-19 outbreak disproportionately affected African-Americans, possibly due, in part, to pre-existing disparities prior to the pandemic linked to social determinants of health. The pandemic deepened these disparities, perhaps due to unequal resources to effectively shelter-in-place or access medical care. Future research may identify local factors underlying geographically heterogenous differences in mortality rates to inform future policy interventions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Child , Georgia/epidemiology , Health Status Disparities , Humans , Mortality , SARS-CoV-2 , Spatial Analysis , United States
9.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(9): e2978-e2984, 2021 11 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1500992

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In response to reported coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreaks among people experiencing homelessness (PEH) in other US cities, we conducted multiple, proactive, facility-wide testing events for PEH living sheltered and unsheltered and homelessness service staff in Atlanta, Georgia. We describe the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) prevalence and associated symptoms, and review shelter infection prevention and control (IPC) policies. METHODS: PEH and staff were tested for SARS-CoV-2 by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) during 7 April-6 May 2020. A subset of PEH and staff was screened for symptoms. Shelter assessments were conducted concurrently at a convenience sample of shelters using a standardized questionnaire. RESULTS: Overall, 2875 individuals at 24 shelters and 9 unsheltered outreach events underwent SARS-CoV-2 testing, and 2860 (99.5%) had conclusive test results. The SARS-CoV-2 prevalences were 2.1% (36/1684) among PEH living sheltered, 0.5% (3/628) among PEH living unsheltered, and 1.3% (7/548) among staff. Reporting fever, cough, or shortness of breath in the last week during symptom screening was 14% sensitive and 89% specific for identifying COVID-19 cases, compared with RT-PCR. Prevalences by shelter ranged 0-27.6%. Repeat testing 3-4 weeks later at 4 shelters documented decreased SARS-CoV-2 prevalences (0-3.9%). Of 24 shelters, 9 completed shelter assessments and implemented IPC measures as part of the COVID-19 response. CONCLUSIONS: PEH living in shelters experienced a higher SARS-CoV-2 prevalence compared with PEH living unsheltered. Facility-wide testing in congregate settings allowed for the identification and isolation of COVID-19 cases, and is an important strategy to interrupt SARS-CoV-2 transmission.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Homeless Persons , COVID-19 Testing , Georgia/epidemiology , Humans , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2
10.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 27(10): 2578-2587, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1486731

ABSTRACT

The serial interval and effective reproduction number for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are heterogenous, varying by demographic characteristics, region, and period. During February 1-July 13, 2020, we identified 4,080 transmission pairs in Georgia, USA, by using contact tracing information from COVID-19 cases reported to the Georgia Department of Public Health. We examined how various transmission characteristics were affected by symptoms, demographics, and period (during shelter-in-place and after subsequent reopening) and estimated the time course of reproduction numbers for all 159 Georgia counties. Transmission varied by time and place but also by persons' sex and race. The mean serial interval decreased from 5.97 days in February-April to 4.40 days in June-July. Younger adults (20-50 years of age) were involved in most transmission events occurring during or after reopening. The shelter-in-place period was not long enough to prevent sustained virus transmission in densely populated urban areas connected by major transportation links.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , Basic Reproduction Number , Contact Tracing , Georgia/epidemiology , Humans
11.
J Sch Nurs ; 37(6): 503-512, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1455889

ABSTRACT

This study's goal was to characterize the utility of symptom screening in staff and students for COVID-19 identification and control of transmission in a school setting. We conducted a secondary analysis of cross-sectional data for staff, students and associated household members in a Georgia school district exposed to COVID-19 cases who received RT-PCR testing and symptom monitoring. Among positive contacts, 30/49 (61%) of students and 1/6 (17%) of staff reported no symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Symptom sensitivity was 30% in elementary students and 42% in middle/high students. Fifty-three percent (10/19) of symptomatic positive contacts had at least one household member test positive for SARS-CoV-2 compared with 50% (10/20) of asymptomatic positive contacts. The absence of symptoms in children is not indicative of a lack of SARS-CoV-2 infection or reduced risk of infection for associated household members. Testing all close contacts of people with COVID-19 in schools is needed to interrupt transmission networks.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Child , Cross-Sectional Studies , Georgia/epidemiology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Schools
12.
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep ; 70(21): 779-784, 2021 May 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1395448

ABSTRACT

To meet the educational, physical, social, and emotional needs of children, many U.S. schools opened for in-person learning during fall 2020 by implementing strategies to prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 (1,2). To date, there have been no U.S. studies comparing COVID-19 incidence in schools that varied in implementing recommended prevention strategies, including mask requirements and ventilation improvements* (2). Using data from Georgia kindergarten through grade 5 (K-5) schools that opened for in-person learning during fall 2020, CDC and the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) assessed the impact of school-level prevention strategies on incidence of COVID-19 among students and staff members before the availability of COVID-19 vaccines.† Among 169 K-5 schools that participated in a survey on prevention strategies and reported COVID-19 cases during November 16-December 11, 2020, COVID-19 incidence was 3.08 cases among students and staff members per 500 enrolled students.§ Adjusting for county-level incidence, COVID-19 incidence was 37% lower in schools that required teachers and staff members to use masks, and 39% lower in schools that improved ventilation, compared with schools that did not use these prevention strategies. Ventilation strategies associated with lower school incidence included methods to dilute airborne particles alone by opening windows, opening doors, or using fans (35% lower incidence), or in combination with methods to filter airborne particles with high-efficiency particulate absorbing (HEPA) filtration with or without purification with ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) (48% lower incidence). Multiple strategies should be implemented to prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in schools (2); mask requirements for teachers and staff members and improved ventilation are important strategies that elementary schools could implement as part of a multicomponent approach to provide safer, in-person learning environments. Universal and correct mask use is still recommended by CDC for adults and children in schools regardless of vaccination status (2).


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Masks/statistics & numerical data , Schools , Ventilation/standards , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , Georgia/epidemiology , Humans , Incidence
13.
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep ; 69(17): 521-522, 2020 May 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389843

ABSTRACT

In the United States, approximately 1.4 million persons access emergency shelter or transitional housing each year (1). These settings can pose risks for communicable disease spread. In late March and early April 2020, public health teams responded to clusters (two or more cases in the preceding 2 weeks) of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in residents and staff members from five homeless shelters in Boston, Massachusetts (one shelter); San Francisco, California (one); and Seattle, Washington (three). The investigations were performed in coordination with academic partners, health care providers, and homeless service providers. Investigations included reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction testing at commercial and public health laboratories for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, over approximately 1-2 weeks for residents and staff members at the five shelters. During the same period, the team in Seattle, Washington, also tested residents and staff members at 12 shelters where a single case in each had been identified. In Atlanta, Georgia, a team proactively tested residents and staff members at two shelters with no known COVID-19 cases in the preceding 2 weeks. In each city, the objective was to test all shelter residents and staff members at each assessed facility, irrespective of symptoms. Persons who tested positive were transported to hospitals or predesignated community isolation areas.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Homeless Persons/statistics & numerical data , Housing/statistics & numerical data , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Boston/epidemiology , COVID-19 , Cities , Georgia/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2 , San Francisco/epidemiology , Washington/epidemiology
15.
BMJ Health Care Inform ; 28(1)2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1356938

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic has exposed the need to understand the risk drivers that contribute to uneven morbidity and mortality in US communities. Addressing the community-specific social determinants of health (SDOH) that correlate with spread of SARS-CoV-2 provides an opportunity for targeted public health intervention to promote greater resilience to viral respiratory infections. METHODS: Our work combined publicly available COVID-19 statistics with county-level SDOH information. Machine learning models were trained to predict COVID-19 case growth and understand the social, physical and environmental risk factors associated with higher rates of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Tennessee and Georgia counties. Model accuracy was assessed comparing predicted case counts to actual positive case counts in each county. RESULTS: The predictive models achieved a mean R2 of 0.998 in both states with accuracy above 90% for all time points examined. Using these models, we tracked the importance of SDOH data features over time to uncover the specific racial demographic characteristics strongly associated with COVID-19 incidence in Tennessee and Georgia counties. Our results point to dynamic racial trends in both states over time and varying, localized patterns of risk among counties within the same state. For example, we find that African American and Asian racial demographics present comparable, and contrasting, patterns of risk depending on locality. CONCLUSION: The dichotomy of demographic trends presented here emphasizes the importance of understanding the unique factors that influence COVID-19 incidence. Identifying these specific risk factors tied to COVID-19 case growth can help stakeholders target regional interventions to mitigate the burden of future outbreaks.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Health Status Disparities , Social Determinants of Health , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/ethnology , Georgia/epidemiology , Humans , Models, Theoretical , Risk Factors , Tennessee/epidemiology
16.
AIDS ; 34(12): 1789-1794, 2020 10 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1301407

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: There are limited data describing the presenting characteristics and outcomes among US persons with HIV (PWH) requiring hospitalization for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). METHODS: We performed a case series of all PWH sequentially admitted with COVID-19 from 8 March 2020 to 23 April 2020 at three hospitals in Atlanta, Georgia. Sociodemographic, clinical and HIV-associated characteristics were collected. RESULTS: Of 530 confirmed COVID-19 cases hospitalized during this period, 20 occurred among PWH (3.8%). The median age was 57 (Q1-Q3, 48-62) years, 65% were men, and 85% were non-Hispanic Black. Presenting median symptom duration was 5 (Q1-Q3, 3-7) days; cough (90%), fever (65%), malaise (60%) and dyspnea (60%) were most common. On admission, 40% of patients required oxygenation support and 65% had an abnormal chest radiograph. Median length of hospitalization was 5 (Q1-Q3, 4-12) days, 30% required intensive care, 15% required intubation, and 15% died. Median CD4 cell count prior to admission was 425 (Q1-Q3, 262-815) cells/µl and 90% of patients had HIV-1 RNA less than 200 copies/ml. Half of the patients had at least five comorbidities; hypertension (70%), dyslipidemia (60%) and diabetes (45%) were most prevalent. All three patients who died had CD4 cell count more than 200, HIV suppression and each had a total of five comorbidities. CONCLUSION: The multisite series in the Southern United States provides characteristics and early outcomes of hospitalized PWH with COVID-19. Nearly all patients had controlled HIV and a high comorbidity burden. Additional study of COVID-19 among PWH is needed to determine the role of age, comorbidities and HIV control in mediating COVID-19 presentation and its sequelae.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , African Americans/statistics & numerical data , CD4 Lymphocyte Count , COVID-19 , Comorbidity , Coronavirus Infections/ethnology , Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Female , Georgia/epidemiology , HIV Infections/ethnology , HIV Infections/therapy , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/ethnology , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , Retrospective Studies
17.
PLoS One ; 16(7): e0253910, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1290970

ABSTRACT

The spread of COVID-19 in the Spring of 2020 prompted state and local governments to implement a variety of policies, including stay-at-home (SAH) orders and mandatory mask requirements, aimed at reducing the infection rate and the severity of the pandemic's impact. We implement a discrete choice experiment survey in three major U.S. States-California, Georgia, and Illinois-to empirically quantify individuals' willingness to stay (WTS) home, measured as the number of weeks of a potential new SAH order, to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 disease and explore factors leading to their heterogeneous WTS. Our results demonstrate broad support for statewide mask mandates. In addition, the estimate of WTS to lower new positive cases is quite large, approximately five and half weeks, even though staying home lowers utility. We also find that individuals recognize the trade-offs between case reduction and economic slowdown stemming from SAH orders when they decide to stay home or not. Finally, pandemic related factors such as age, ability to work from home, and unemployment status are the main drivers of the heterogeneity in individuals' WTS.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , California/epidemiology , Female , Georgia/epidemiology , Humans , Illinois/epidemiology , Male , Masks , Middle Aged , Pandemics/prevention & control , Surveys and Questionnaires , Young Adult
18.
Viruses ; 13(6)2021 05 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1286938

ABSTRACT

Viruses transmitted by the sweet potato whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) have been detrimental to the sustainable production of cucurbits in the southeastern USA. Surveys were conducted in the fall of 2019 and 2020 in Georgia, a major cucurbit-producing state of the USA, to identify the viruses infecting cucurbits and their distribution. Symptomatic samples were collected and small RNA libraries were prepared and sequenced from three cantaloupes, four cucumbers, and two yellow squash samples. An analysis of the sequences revealed the presence of the criniviruses cucurbit chlorotic yellows virus (CCYV), cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus (CYSDV), and the begomovirus cucurbit leaf crumple virus (CuLCrV). CuLCrV was detected in 76%, CCYV in 60%, and CYSDV in 43% of the total samples (n = 820) tested. The level of mixed infections was high in all the cucurbits, with most plants tested being infected with at least two of these viruses. Near-complete genome sequences of two criniviruses, CCYV and CYSDV, were assembled from the small RNA sequences. An analysis of the coding regions showed low genetic variability among isolates from different hosts. In phylogenetic analysis, the CCYV isolates from Georgia clustered with Asian isolates, while CYSDV isolates clustered with European and USA isolates. This work enhances our understanding of the distribution of viruses on cucurbits in South Georgia and will be useful to develop strategies for managing the complex of whitefly-transmitted viruses in the region.


Subject(s)
Coinfection/virology , Hemiptera/virology , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , Metagenomics , Plant Diseases/virology , Plant Viruses/classification , Plant Viruses/genetics , Animals , Crinivirus/genetics , Crinivirus/isolation & purification , Genome, Viral , Georgia/epidemiology , Metagenomics/methods , Phenotype , Phylogeny , Prevalence , RNA, Viral
19.
J Mol Diagn ; 23(7): 788-795, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1275505

ABSTRACT

The clinical performance of saliva compared with nasopharyngeal swabs (NPSs) has shown conflicting results in healthcare and community settings. In the present study, a total of 429 matched NPS and saliva sample pairs, collected in either healthcare or community setting, were evaluated. Phase-1 (protocol U) tested 240 matched NPS and saliva sample pairs; phase 2 (SalivaAll protocol) tested 189 matched NPS and saliva sample pairs, with an additional sample homogenization step before RNA extraction. A total of 85 saliva samples were evaluated with both protocols. In phase-1, 28.3% (68/240) samples tested positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) from saliva, NPS, or both. The detection rate from saliva was lower compared with that from NPS samples (50.0% versus 89.7%). In phase-2, 50.2% (95/189) samples tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 from saliva, NPS, or both. The detection rate from saliva was higher compared with that from NPS samples (97.8% versus 78.9%). Of the 85 saliva samples evaluated with both protocols, the detection rate was 100% for samples tested with SalivaAll, and 36.7% with protocol U. The limit of detection with SalivaAll protocol was 20 to 60 copies/mL. The pooled testing approach demonstrated a 95% positive and 100% negative percentage agreement. This protocol for saliva samples results in higher sensitivity compared with NPS samples and breaks the barrier to using pooled saliva for SARS-CoV-2 testing.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Delivery of Health Care , Mass Screening/methods , Population Surveillance/methods , Residence Characteristics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Saliva/virology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Diagnostic Tests, Routine/methods , Georgia/epidemiology , Humans , Limit of Detection , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/isolation & purification , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , Sensitivity and Specificity
20.
J Med Internet Res ; 23(7): e27682, 2021 07 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1278297

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic created numerous barriers to the implementation of participant-facing research. For most, the pandemic required rapid transitioning to all virtual platforms. During this pandemic, the most vulnerable populations are at highest risk of falling through the cracks of engagement in clinical care and research. Nonetheless, we argue that we should reframe the discussion to consider how this transition may create opportunities to engage extensively to reach populations. Here, we present our experience in Atlanta (Georgia, United States) in transitioning a group visit model for South Asian immigrants to a virtual platform and the pivotal role community members in the form of community health workers can play in building capacity among participants. We provide details on how this model helped address common barriers to group visit models in clinical practice and how our community health worker team innovatively addressed the digital challenges of working with an elderly population with limited English proficiency.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Community Health Workers , Digital Divide , Emigrants and Immigrants , Pandemics , Telemedicine , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/epidemiology , Capacity Building , Female , Georgia/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Vulnerable Populations
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