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2.
Med Sci Monit ; 28: e936199, 2022 Feb 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1662873

ABSTRACT

The omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, B.1.1.529, was included in the World Health Organization (WHO) list of variants of concerns (VOC) on 26 November 2021. Within only three months, omicron has spread rapidly to become the dominant variant in many countries. Studies have begun to evaluate the virulence, transmissibility, and degree of immune protection from current SARS-CoV-2 vaccines or previous of infection with the omicron variant. On 21 January 2022, the WHO published its seventh technical update and recommendations for priority actions in response to the omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant and cautioned that the overall risk from omicron remains high. At the start of this third year of the global COVID-19 pandemic, this editorial aims to summarize the evidence that supports the current priority recommendations and response from the WHO regarding the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, B.1.1.529.


Subject(s)
Health Policy/trends , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Humans , Viral Vaccines/immunology , World Health Organization
5.
PLoS One ; 17(1): e0261479, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1613353

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The Australian National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce is producing living, evidence-based, national guidelines for treatment of people with COVID-19 which are updated each week. To continually improve the process and outputs of the Taskforce, and inform future living guideline development, we undertook a concurrent process evaluation examining Taskforce activities and experience of team members and stakeholders during the first 5 months of the project. METHODS: The mixed-methods process evaluation consisted of activity and progress audits, an online survey of all Taskforce participants; and semi-structured interviews with key contributors. Data were collected through five, prospective 4-weekly timepoints (beginning first week of May 2020) and three, fortnightly retrospective timepoints (March 23, April 6 and 20). We collected and analysed quantitative and qualitative data. RESULTS: An updated version of the guidelines was successfully published every week during the process evaluation. The Taskforce formed in March 2020, with a nominal start date of March 23. The first version of the guideline was published two weeks later and included 10 recommendations. By August 24, in the final round of the process evaluation, the team of 11 staff, working with seven guideline panels and over 200 health decision-makers, had developed 66 recommendations addressing 58 topics. The Taskforce website had received over 200,000 page views. Satisfaction with the work of the Taskforce remained very high (>90% extremely or somewhat satisfied) throughout. Several key strengths, challenges and methods questions for the work of the Taskforce were identified. CONCLUSIONS: In just over 5 months of activity, the National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce published 20 weekly updates to the evidence-based national treatment guidelines for COVID-19. This process evaluation identified several factors that enabled this achievement (e.g. an extant skill base in evidence review and convening), along with challenges that needed to be overcome (e.g. managing workloads, structure and governance) and methods questions (pace of updating, and thresholds for inclusion of evidence) which may be useful considerations for other living guidelines projects. An impact evaluation is also being conducted separately to examine awareness, acceptance and use of the guidelines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/therapy , Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care/trends , Process Assessment, Health Care/methods , Australia , Health Policy/trends , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Stakeholder Participation
9.
Value Health ; 24(11): 1551-1569, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1557697

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on our society, with drastic policy restrictions being implemented to contain the spread of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. This study aimed to provide an overview of the available evidence on the cost-effectiveness of various coronavirus disease 2019 policy measures. METHODS: A systematic literature search was conducted in PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science. Health economic evaluations considering both costs and outcomes were included. Their quality was comprehensively assessed using the Consensus Health Economic Criteria checklist. Next, the quality of the epidemiological models was evaluated. RESULTS: A total of 3688 articles were identified (March 2021), of which 23 were included. The studies were heterogeneous with regard to methodological quality, contextual factors, strategies' content, adopted perspective, applied models, and outcomes used. Overall, testing/screening, social distancing, personal protective equipment, quarantine/isolation, and hygienic measures were found to be cost-effective. Furthermore, the most optimal choice and combination of strategies depended on the reproduction number and context. With a rising reproduction number, extending the testing strategy and early implementation of combined multiple restriction measures are most efficient. CONCLUSIONS: The quality assessment highlighted numerous flaws and limitations in the study approaches; hence, their results should be interpreted with caution because the specific context (country, target group, etc) is a key driver for cost-effectiveness. Finally, including a societal perspective in future evaluations is key because this pandemic has an indirect impact on the onset and treatment of other conditions and on our global economy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/economics , Cost-Benefit Analysis/standards , Health Policy/economics , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Cost-Benefit Analysis/trends , Health Policy/trends , Humans
10.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 22871, 2021 11 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1537332

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed novel risks related to the indoor mixing of individuals from different households and challenged policymakers to adequately regulate this behaviour. While in many cases household visits are necessary for the purpose of social care, they have been linked to broadening community transmission of the virus. In this study we propose a novel, privacy-preserving framework for the measurement of household visitation at national and regional scales, making use of passively collected mobility data. We implement this approach in England from January 2020 to May 2021. The measures expose significant spatial and temporal variation in household visitation patterns, impacted by both national and regional lockdown policies, and the rollout of the vaccination programme. The findings point to complex social processes unfolding differently over space and time, likely informed by variations in policy adherence, vaccine relaxation, and regional interventions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/psychology , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Social Support/psychology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control/trends , England , Family Characteristics , Health Policy/trends , Humans , Immunization Programs/methods , Models, Statistical , Models, Theoretical , Pandemics , Physical Distancing , Public Policy/trends , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Social Interaction/classification , Social Support/methods , Vaccines
11.
Epidemiol Infect ; 148: e161, 2020 07 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1531968

ABSTRACT

After the 2003 SARS epidemic, China started constructing a primary-level emergency response system and focused on strengthening and implementation of policies, resource allocation. After 17 years of restructuring, China's primary-level response capabilities towards public health emergencies have greatly improved. During the coronavirus disease 2019 epidemic, primary-level administrative and medical personnel, social organisations, volunteers, etc. have played a significant role in providing professional services utilising the primary-level emergency response system of 17 years. However, China's organisations did not learn their lesson from the SARS epidemic, and certain problems are exposed in the system. By analysing the experience and shortcomings of China's disease prevention and control system at the primary level, we can focus on the development of disease control systems for major epidemics in the future.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Emergency Medical Services/standards , Epidemics/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Public Health/standards , COVID-19 , China , Emergency Medical Services/organization & administration , Emergency Medical Services/trends , Health Policy/trends , Humans , Information Dissemination/methods , Information Technology/trends , Vulnerable Populations
12.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 22440, 2021 11 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1521770

ABSTRACT

Governments have developed and implemented various policies and interventions to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 vaccines are now being produced and distributed globally. This study investigated the role of good governance and government effectiveness indicators in the acquisition and administration of COVID-19 vaccines at the population level. Data on six World Bank good governance indicators for 172 countries for 2019 and machine-learning methods (K-Means Method and Principal Component Analysis) were used to cluster countries based on these indicators and COVID-19 vaccination rates. XGBoost was used to classify countries based on their vaccination status and identify the relative contribution of each governance indicator to the vaccination rollout in each country. Countries with the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates (e.g., Israel, United Arab Emirates, United States) also have higher effective governance indicators. Regulatory Quality is the most important indicator in predicting COVID-19 vaccination status in a country, followed by Voice and Accountability, and Government Effectiveness. Our findings suggest that coordinated global efforts led by the World Health Organization and wealthier nations may be necessary to assist in the supply and distribution of vaccines to those countries that have less effective governance.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/supply & distribution , COVID-19/prevention & control , Health Policy/trends , COVID-19/immunology , Global Health/trends , Government , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Social Responsibility , Vaccination , Vaccines , World Health Organization
13.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 21844, 2021 11 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1503889

ABSTRACT

This study assesses attitudes towards COVID-19 vaccination and the predictive value of COVID-VAC, a novel scale, among adults in the four largest US metropolitan areas and nationally. A 36-item survey of 6037 Americans was conducted in mid-April 2021. The study reports factors for COVID-19 vaccine acceptance among: (1) already vaccinated; (2) unvaccinated but willing to accept a vaccine; and (3) unvaccinated and unwilling to vaccinate. More than 20% were unwilling to vaccinate, expressing concerns about vaccine efficacy and safety and questioning the disease's severity. Poverty, working outside of the home and conservative political views are predictors of unwillingness. Conversely, those who either personally tested positive for COVID-19, or had a family member who did so, were more likely to accept vaccination. Majorities of all respondents supported vaccination mandates for employees and university students. Respondents preferred to receive vaccines in their doctor´s office. Lower income and conservative ideology, but not race, were strongly associated with vaccine unwillingness. The predictive value of COVID-VAC was demonstrated. While vaccination mandates are likely to be accepted, additional effective, targeted interventions to increase vaccine uptake are needed urgently.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/psychology , Vaccination Refusal/psychology , Vaccination Refusal/trends , Adult , Attitude , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19 Vaccines/supply & distribution , Female , Guideline Adherence/trends , Health Policy/trends , Humans , Intention , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Surveys and Questionnaires , United States , Vaccination/psychology , Vaccination/trends , Vaccines/pharmacology
15.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 16416, 2021 08 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1356579

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has spread throughout the world. The prediction of the number of cases has become essential to governments' ability to define policies and take countermeasures in advance. The numbers of cases have been estimated using compartment models of infectious diseases such as the susceptible-infected-removed (SIR) model and its derived models. However, the required use of hypothetical future values for parameters, such as the effective reproduction number or infection rate, increases the uncertainty of the prediction results. Here, we describe our model for forecasting future COVID-19 cases based on observed data by considering the time delay (tdelay). We used machine learning to estimate the future infection rate based on real-time mobility, temperature, and relative humidity. We then used this calculation with the susceptible-exposed-infectious-removed (SEIR) model to forecast future cases with less uncertainty. The results suggest that changes in mobility affect observed infection rates with 5-10 days of time delay. This window should be accounted for in the decision-making phase especially during periods with predicted infection surges. Our prediction model helps governments and medical institutions to take targeted early countermeasures at critical decision points regarding mobility to avoid significant levels of infection rise.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Basic Reproduction Number , COVID-19/transmission , Disease Susceptibility , Forecasting , Health Policy/trends , Humans , Japan/epidemiology , Machine Learning , Models, Statistical , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Uncertainty
17.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(26)2021 06 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1284761

ABSTRACT

In response to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), governments have introduced severe policy measures with substantial effects on human behavior. Here, we perform a large-scale, spatiotemporal analysis of human mobility during the COVID-19 epidemic. We derive human mobility from anonymized, aggregated telecommunication data in a nationwide setting (Switzerland; 10 February to 26 April 2020), consisting of ∼1.5 billion trips. In comparison to the same time period from 2019, human movement in Switzerland dropped by 49.1%. The strongest reduction is linked to bans on gatherings of more than five people, which are estimated to have decreased mobility by 24.9%, followed by venue closures (stores, restaurants, and bars) and school closures. As such, human mobility at a given day predicts reported cases 7 to 13 d ahead. A 1% reduction in human mobility predicts a 0.88 to 1.11% reduction in daily reported COVID-19 cases. When managing epidemics, monitoring human mobility via telecommunication data can support public decision makers in two ways. First, it helps in assessing policy impact; second, it provides a scalable tool for near real-time epidemic surveillance, thereby enabling evidence-based policies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Telecommunications/statistics & numerical data , Health Policy/trends , Humans , Population Surveillance , Public Health , Switzerland/epidemiology , Travel/statistics & numerical data
18.
Methods ; 195: 3-14, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1240650

ABSTRACT

More than 130,000 peer-reviewed studies have been published within one year after COVID-19 emerged in many countries. This large and rapidly growing field may overwhelm the synthesizing abilities of both researchers and policy-makers. To provide a sinopsis, prevent errors, and detect cognitive gaps that may require interdisciplinary research methods, the literature on COVID-19 is summarized, twice. The overall purpose of this study is to generate a dialogue meant to explain the genesis of and/or find remedies for omissions and contradictions. The first review starts in Biology and ends in Policy. Policy is chosen as a destination because it is the setting where cognitive integration must occur. The second review follows the opposite path: it begins with stated policies on COVID-19 and then their assumptions and disciplinary relationships are identified. The purpose of this interdisciplinary method on methods is to yield a relational and explanatory view of the field -one strategy likely to be incomplete but usable when large bodies of literature need to be rapidly summarized. These reviews identify nine inter-related problems, research needs, or omissions, namely: (1) nation-wide, geo-referenced, epidemiological data collection systems (open to and monitored by the public); (2) metrics meant to detect non-symptomatic cases -e.g., test positivity-; (3) cost-benefit oriented methods, which should demonstrate they detect silent viral spreaders even with limited testing; (4) new personalized tests that inform on biological functions and disease correlates, such as cell-mediated immunity, co-morbidities, and immuno-suppression; (5) factors that influence vaccine effectiveness; (6) economic predictions that consider the long-term consequences likely to follow epidemics that growth exponentially; (7) the errors induced by self-limiting and/or implausible paradigms, such as binary and reductionist approaches; (8) new governance models that emphasize problem-solving skills, social participation, and the use of scientific knowledge; and (9) new educational programs that utilize visual aids and audience-specific communication strategies. The analysis indicates that, to optimally address these problems, disciplinary and social integration is needed. By asking what is/are the potential cause(s) and consequence(s) of each issue, this methodology generates visualizations that reveal possible relationships as well as omissions and contradictions. While inherently limited in scope and likely to become obsolete, these shortcomings are avoided when this 'method on methods' is frequently practiced. Open-ended, inter-/trans-disciplinary perspectives and broad social participation may help researchers and citizens to construct, de-construct, and re-construct COVID-19 related research.


Subject(s)
Biomedical Research/methods , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Health Policy , Interdisciplinary Research/methods , Animals , Biomedical Research/standards , Biomedical Research/trends , COVID-19/immunology , Health Policy/trends , Humans , Immunity, Herd/physiology , Interdisciplinary Research/standards , Interdisciplinary Research/trends
20.
Epidemiol. serv. saúde ; 30(1): e2020513, 2021. tab, graf
Article in English, Portuguese | WHO COVID, LILACS (Americas) | ID: covidwho-1229096

ABSTRACT

Objetivo: Descrever as medidas de contenção de tipo lockdown e a incidência da COVID-19 em sete países: África do Sul, Alemanha, Brasil, Espanha, Estados Unidos, Itália e Nova Zelândia. Métodos: Estudo ecológico descritivo, com dados da incidência diária dos casos confirmados de COVID-19 entre 22 de fevereiro e 31 de agosto de 2020, e informações sobre medidas de lockdown implementadas pelo governo de cada país. Resultados: Os países que implementaram lockdown tiveram diminuição da incidência diária de COVID-19 (casos por milhão de habitantes) no período de três semanas, a contar do início da medida: África do Sul (3,7 a 1,7), Alemanha (37,5 a 33,7), Espanha (176,3 a 82,0), Itália (92,0 a 52,1) e Nova Zelândia (7,5 a 1,7). O Brasil e os Estados Unidos, que não implementaram lockdown, não apresentaram uma diminuição considerável. Conclusão: Após a implementação de lockdown, houve uma diminuição considerável do número de casos confirmados.


Objetivo: Describir las medidas de contención tipo lockdown y la incidencia de COVID-19 en los países de Sudáfrica, Alemania, Brasil, España, Estados Unidos, Italia y Nueva Zelanda. Métodos: Estudio ecológico descriptivo con datos de la incidencia diaria de los casos confirmados de COVID-19, del 22 de febrero al 31 de agosto de 2020 e informaciones sobre medidas de contención lockdown implementadas por los gobiernos de cada uno de los países. Resultados: Los países que implementaron lockdown, desde el inicio de su implementación hasta tres semanas después, tuvieron una disminución en la incidencia diaria (casos por millón de habitantes): Sudáfrica (3,7 a 1,7), Alemania (37,5 a 33,7), España (176,3 a 82,0), Italia (92,0 a 52,1) y Nueva Zelanda (7,5 a 1,7). Brasil y Estados Unidos, que no implementaron lockdown, no tuvieron una disminución considerable Conclusión: Luego de la implementación del lockdown, hubo una disminución considerable en el número de casos confirmados.


Objective: To describe lockdown-type containment measures and COVID-19 incidence in South Africa, Germany, Brazil, Spain, United States, Italy and New Zealand. Methods: This is a descriptive ecological study with data on daily incidence of confirmed COVID-19 cases from February 22 to August 31 2020, as well as information on lockdown measures implemented by the governments of each country. Results: Daily COVID-19 incidence (cases per 1 million inhabitants) decreased within three weeks after lockdown started in the countries that implemented it: South Africa (3.7 to 1.7), Germany (37.5 to 33.7) Spain (176.3 to 82.0), Italy (92.0 to 52.1) and New Zealand (7.5 to 1.7). As for Brazil and the United States, which did not implement lockdown, there was no considerable decrease. Conclusion: After lockdown implementation, there was a considerable decrease in the number of confirmed cases.


Subject(s)
Humans , Psychological Distance , Quarantine/methods , Communicable Disease Control/statistics & numerical data , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , South Africa/epidemiology , Spain/epidemiology , United States/epidemiology , Brazil/epidemiology , Incidence , Ecological Studies , Pandemics/prevention & control , Germany/epidemiology , Health Policy/trends , Italy/epidemiology , New Zealand/epidemiology
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