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1.
Euro Surveill ; 27(1)2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1613508

ABSTRACT

BackgroundSince the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the disease has frequently been compared with seasonal influenza, but this comparison is based on little empirical data.AimThis study compares in-hospital outcomes for patients with community-acquired COVID-19 and patients with community-acquired influenza in Switzerland.MethodsThis retrospective multi-centre cohort study includes patients > 18 years admitted for COVID-19 or influenza A/B infection determined by RT-PCR. Primary and secondary outcomes were in-hospital mortality and intensive care unit (ICU) admission for patients with COVID-19 or influenza. We used Cox regression (cause-specific and Fine-Gray subdistribution hazard models) to account for time-dependency and competing events with inverse probability weighting to adjust for confounders.ResultsIn 2020, 2,843 patients with COVID-19 from 14 centres were included. Between 2018 and 2020, 1,381 patients with influenza from seven centres were included; 1,722 (61%) of the patients with COVID-19 and 666 (48%) of the patients with influenza were male (p < 0.001). The patients with COVID-19 were younger (median 67 years; interquartile range (IQR): 54-78) than the patients with influenza (median 74 years; IQR: 61-84) (p < 0.001). A larger percentage of patients with COVID-19 (12.8%) than patients with influenza (4.4%) died in hospital (p < 0.001). The final adjusted subdistribution hazard ratio for mortality was 3.01 (95% CI: 2.22-4.09; p < 0.001) for COVID-19 compared with influenza and 2.44 (95% CI: 2.00-3.00, p < 0.001) for ICU admission.ConclusionCommunity-acquired COVID-19 was associated with worse outcomes compared with community-acquired influenza, as the hazards of ICU admission and in-hospital death were about two-fold to three-fold higher.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Influenza, Human , Cohort Studies , Hospital Mortality , Hospitalization , Hospitals , Humans , Influenza, Human/diagnosis , Influenza, Human/epidemiology , Intensive Care Units , Male , Pandemics , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Switzerland/epidemiology
2.
Praxis (Bern 1994) ; 110(1): 14-20, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1604570

ABSTRACT

We estimated the incidence of COVID-19-compatible symptoms, COVID-19 testing, and GP consultations during the first lockdown period in Switzerland (March-April 2020). A representative sample of the adult Swiss population completed an online survey. Of the 1022 respondents, 74 % reported at least one symptom, 5 % were tested for COVID-19, and 8 % contacted their GP regarding COVID-19. Testing was significantly associated with reduced sense of taste/smell, fever, cough with expectoration, and fatigue. Respondents at risk for severe COVID-19 were less likely to be tested but were five times more likely to contact their GP than those not at risk. We highlight the need to involve the appropriate health care setting to reach the vulnerable population when testing capacities are restricted (e.g. GPs).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , COVID-19 Testing , Communicable Disease Control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Switzerland
3.
Chimia (Aarau) ; 75(12): 1066-1070, 2021 Dec 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1596953

ABSTRACT

After last year's successful online symposium, the 4th edition of the Swiss Symposium in POC Diagnostics gathered more than 150 participants from medicine, industry and science as well as from different European countries to meet at the Davos Conference Center for an exciting program with 13 expert speakers, a poster session and a product & technology exhibition. The mandatory COVID-certificate to access the event has allowed people to meet (again at last!), network and share their views and success stories in the field of POC Diagnostics that continues to be propelled by digitalization, new technological possibilities, user needs and the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Humans , Point-of-Care Testing , SARS-CoV-2 , Switzerland
4.
BMJ Open ; 11(12): e057021, 2021 12 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1596640

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The COVID-19 pandemic was making a huge impact on Europe's healthcare systems in the spring of 2020, and most predictive models concurred that pandemic waves were in the offing. Most studies adopted a pathogenic approach to the subject; few used a salutogenic approach. These showed, however, that nurses can retain their health despite a pandemic by mobilising generalised resistance resources. Our study aims to understand how nurses working in Switzerland's hospitals protected their health and workplace well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic by investigating the moderating effects of the health resources they mobilised against the stressors inherent to the situation. The study aims to explore and describe the stressors and the resources nurses used to remain healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHOD AND ANALYSIS: We will use a concurrent mixed-methods panel design with qualitative analyses ancillary to quantitative analyses. Quantitative data will be collected using electronic questionnaires at four time points over 2 years. Qualitative data will be collected using focus groups. Nurses from Switzerland's two main linguistic regions who had direct, indirect or no contact with patients with COVID-19 will be invited to participate. The a priori sample size will be at least 3631 participants at T0 and 1852 at T4. Longitudinal structural equation modelling and knowledge mapping will be used to analyse quantitative and qualitative data, respectively. The results derived from the two data types will then be compared and discussed using a side-by-side approach to determine whether they agree or disagree and how they complement each other to achieve our aims. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Nurses will receive an electronic informed consent form. The data collected will be stored on a secure server at the authors' institution. This research project was approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of the Canton of Vaud (2020-02845).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Protective Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , Self Report , Switzerland/epidemiology , Workplace
5.
Swiss Med Wkly ; 151: w30116, 2021 12 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1591700

ABSTRACT

AIMS OF THE STUDY: A new emerging severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019 and then spread rapidly, causing a global pandemic. In Europe, the first case was identified in Italy on 21 February 2020, in the Lombardy region bordering on the southern part of Switzerland (Canton Ticino), where 4 days later the first case was identified . Ticino was the most affected canton in Switzerland during the first wave of pandemic. In order to provide a reliable indicator for the spread of the virus in this region and help decision making at the public health level, a seroprevalence study of SARS-CoV-2 was conducted. METHODS: A cohort study was implemented on a randomly selected sample of 1500 persons. The sample is representative of the general population of the Canton of Ticino, stratified by sex and age from 5 years old. Antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein were detected using a rapid qualitative test in 4 data collection periods over the course of 12 months (from May-June 2020 to May-June 2021). RESULTS: The seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 was estimated at 9.0% in spring 2020 (weeks 20-26), 8.4% in summer 2020 (weeks 32-38), 14.1% in autumn 2020 (weeks 45-52) and 22.3% in spring 2021 (weeks 18-23). In none of these four phases was evidence of an association between sex or specific age groups and presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies detected. For risk factors, the only strong and significant association found was with diabetes in the first three data collection periods but not in the fourth. Among people who participated in all four phases of the study and tested positive anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the first test, 61.8% were still positive even in the fourth, 12 months later. CONCLUSIONS: The results support the hypothesis that, after one year and despite the severe burden in terms of hospitalisations and deaths experienced by the Canton Ticino, SARS-CoV-2 infection affected only a minority of the population (20%) and also suggest that the anti-nucleocapsid antibodies persist after 12 months in the majority of infected persons.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , Child, Preschool , Cohort Studies , Humans , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Switzerland/epidemiology
6.
Swiss Med Wkly ; 151: w30091, 2021 10 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1575761

ABSTRACT

AIMS OF THE STUDY: There is increasing interest in better understanding of long COVID, a condition characterised by long-term sequelae ­ appearing or persisting after the typical convalescence period ­ of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Herein, we describe long-term outcomes regarding residual symptoms and psychological distress in hospitalised patients 1 year after COVID-19. METHODS: This prospective cohort study included consecutive adult patients hospitalised for confirmed COVID-19 in two Swiss tertiary-care hospitals between March and June 2020. The primary endpoint was evidence of long COVID 1 year after discharge, defined as ≥1 persisting or new symptom related to COVID-19, from a predefined list of symptoms. Secondary endpoints included psychological distress and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). RESULTS: Among 90 patients included in the study, 63 (70%) had symptoms of long COVID 1 year after hospitalisation, particularly fatigue (46%), concentration difficulties (31%), shortness of breath (21%) and post-exertion malaise (20%). Three predictors, namely duration of hospitalisation (odds ratio [OR] 1.11, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.00­1.22; p = 0.041), severity of illness (OR 1.19, 95% CI 1.04­1.37; p = 0.013), and self-perceived overall health status 30 days after hospitalisation (OR 0.97, 95% CI 0.94­1.00; p = 0.027) were associated with long COVID. Regarding secondary endpoints, 16 (18%) experienced psychological distress and 3 (3.3%) patients had symptoms of PTSD. CONCLUSION: A high proportion of COVID-19 patients report symptoms of long COVID 1 year after hospitalisation, which negatively affects their quality of life. The most important risk factors were severe initial presentation of COVID-19 with long hospital stays.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Antibodies, Viral , B-Lymphocytes , Humans , Quality of Life , SARS-CoV-2 , Switzerland
7.
J Med Internet Res ; 23(2): e23467, 2021 02 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1574242

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Many countries across the globe have released their own COVID-19 contact tracing apps. This has resulted in the proliferation of several apps that used a variety of technologies. With the absence of a standardized approach used by the authorities, policy makers, and developers, many of these apps were unique. Therefore, they varied by function and the underlying technology used for contact tracing and infection reporting. OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study was to analyze most of the COVID-19 contact tracing apps in use today. Beyond investigating the privacy features, design, and implications of these apps, this research examined the underlying technologies used in contact tracing apps. It also attempted to provide some insights into their level of penetration and to gauge their public reception. This research also investigated the data collection, reporting, retention, and destruction procedures used by each of the apps under review. METHODS: This research study evaluated 13 apps corresponding to 10 countries based on the underlying technology used. The inclusion criteria ensured that most COVID-19-declared epicenters (ie, countries) were included in the sample, such as Italy. The evaluated apps also included countries that did relatively well in controlling the outbreak of COVID-19, such as Singapore. Informational and unofficial contact tracing apps were excluded from this study. A total of 30,000 reviews corresponding to the 13 apps were scraped from app store webpages and analyzed. RESULTS: This study identified seven distinct technologies used by COVID-19 tracing apps and 13 distinct apps. The United States was reported to have released the most contact tracing apps, followed by Italy. Bluetooth was the most frequently used underlying technology, employed by seven apps, whereas three apps used GPS. The Norwegian, Singaporean, Georgian, and New Zealand apps were among those that collected the most personal information from users, whereas some apps, such as the Swiss app and the Italian (Immuni) app, did not collect any user information. The observed minimum amount of time implemented for most of the apps with regard to data destruction was 14 days, while the Georgian app retained records for 3 years. No significant battery drainage issue was reported for most of the apps. Interestingly, only about 2% of the reviewers expressed concerns about their privacy across all apps. The number and frequency of technical issues reported on the Apple App Store were significantly more than those reported on Google Play; the highest was with the New Zealand app, with 27% of the reviewers reporting technical difficulties (ie, 10% out of 27% scraped reviews reported that the app did not work). The Norwegian, Swiss, and US (PathCheck) apps had the least reported technical issues, sitting at just below 10%. In terms of usability, many apps, such as those from Singapore, Australia, and Switzerland, did not provide the users with an option to sign out from their apps. CONCLUSIONS: This article highlighted the fact that COVID-19 contact tracing apps are still facing many obstacles toward their widespread and public acceptance. The main challenges are related to the technical, usability, and privacy issues or to the requirements reported by some users.


Subject(s)
Attitude , COVID-19/prevention & control , Contact Tracing/methods , Mobile Applications , Privacy , Australia , Data Collection , Disease Outbreaks , Geographic Information Systems , Georgia (Republic) , Humans , Italy , New Zealand , Norway , SARS-CoV-2 , Singapore , Switzerland , Technology , United States , Wireless Technology
8.
Swiss Med Wkly ; 151: w30090, 2021 12 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1574447

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Post-licensure surveillance of adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) is critical for detecting rare but severe AEFI. SmartVax software, using smartphone technology, actively solicits reports of AEFI via automated, opt-out SMS surveys to vaccine recipients in the days following immunisation. We report on a pilot study to test the feasibility and acceptance of SmartVax in Switzerland. METHODS: Between February and September 2020, consecutive subjects immunised at an adult immunisation clinic and the employee health service at the University Hospital of Basel were screened. Participants included three subgroups: healthcare workers (HCW), subjects with immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMID) and clients of the regular adult immunisation clinic. Three days after vaccination, participants received an SMS inquiring if they had any AEFI. In the case of an AEFI, subjects received an automated SMS with a link to an online survey assessing the type and temporal evolution of the AEFI. Descriptive statistics of response rate, time-to-response, frequency and type of AEFI by vaccine and clinical subgroup were performed. RESULTS: Of 293 subjects screened, 276 were included (46.6% routine vaccination check-up visits, 33.3% HCW, 20.1% IMID patients) receiving 625 vaccinations during 360 immunisation visits. The SMS response rate was high (90.3%), with a median time-to-respond of 47 minutes (interquartile range11-205). After 29.8% of immunisation visits at least one AEFI was reported. There were no differences in frequency or type of AEFI between the three clinical subgroups. The recombinant, adjuvanted zoster vaccine Shingrix® was associated with the highest rate of local and systemic reactions. CONCLUSION: Monitoring post-licensure vaccine safety using the active SMS-based surveillance system SmartVax is feasible in Switzerland. We observed a high acceptance in the diverse study population, including healthcare workers and IMID patients. High response rates in the elderly and reliable monitoring almost in real-time make SmartVax a promising tool for COVID-19 vaccine safety monitoring.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Smartphone , Aged , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Pilot Projects , SARS-CoV-2 , Switzerland , Vaccination
9.
Medicina (Kaunas) ; 57(12)2021 Dec 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1572560

ABSTRACT

Background and Objectives: While the impact on mental health of 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19) has been extensively documented, little is known about its influence on subjective fears. Here, we investigate the COVID-19 impact and its related restrictions on fears of patients admitted to a psychiatric Emergency Department (ED) during and post-lockdown. Materials and Methods: A retrospective study on 1477 consultations at the psychiatric ED of the University Hospital of Geneva (HUG) was performed using a mixed-methods analysis. The first analysis section was qualitative, aiming to explore the type of fears, while the second section statistically compared fears (i) during lockdown (16 March 2020-10 May 2020) and (ii) post-lockdown (11 May 2020-5 July 2020). Fears were also explored among different patient-age sub-groups. Results: 334 patients expressed one/more fears. Both in lockdown and post-lockdown, fears mostly pertained to "containment measures" (isolation, loneliness). When compared lockdown vs. post-lockdown, fears about "work status" (deteriorating, losing work) prevailed in lockdown (p = 0.029) while "hopelessness" (powerless feeling, inability to find solutions) in post-lockdown (p = 0.001). "Self around COVID-19" (dying, getting sick) fear was relatively more frequent in youth (p = 0.039), while "hopelessness" in the elderly (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Collectively, these findings highlight that lockdown/post-lockdown periods generated temporally and demographically distinct COVID-19 related fears patterns, with special regard to youth and elderly, two particularly vulnerable populations when faced with sudden and unexpected dramatic events. For this reason, the particular ED "front-line service" status makes it a privileged observatory that can provide novel insights. From a mental health perspective, these latter can be translated into pragmatic, more personalized prevention strategies to reinforce specific resilience resources and mitigate the current and long-term pandemic's impact.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adolescent , Aged , Communicable Disease Control , Emergency Service, Hospital , Fear , Humans , Mental Health , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Switzerland
11.
Int J Public Health ; 66: 1603992, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1533731

ABSTRACT

Objectives: We aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of the SwissCovid digital proximity tracing (DPT) app in notifying exposed individuals and prompting them to quarantine earlier compared to individuals notified only by manual contact tracing (MCT). Methods: A population-based sample of cases and close contacts from the Zurich SARS-CoV-2 Cohort was surveyed regarding SwissCovid app use and SARS-CoV-2 exposure. We descriptively analyzed app adherence and effectiveness, and evaluated its effects on the time between exposure and quarantine among contacts using stratified multivariable time-to-event analyses. Results: We included 393 SARS-CoV-2 infected cases and 261 close contacts. 62% of cases reported using SwissCovid and among those, 88% received and uploaded a notification code. 71% of close contacts were app users, of which 38% received a warning. Non-household contacts notified by SwissCovid started quarantine 1 day earlier and were more likely to quarantine earlier than those not warned by the app (HR 1.53, 95% CI 1.15-2.03). Conclusion: These findings provide evidence that DPT may reach exposed contacts faster than MCT, with earlier quarantine and potential interruption of SARS-CoV-2 transmission chains.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Contact Tracing , Mobile Applications , Quarantine , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Cohort Studies , Contact Tracing/methods , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Mobile Applications/statistics & numerical data , Quarantine/statistics & numerical data , Switzerland/epidemiology , Time Factors
12.
Front Public Health ; 9: 731981, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1528870

ABSTRACT

To date, most of the evidence suggests that smoking is negatively associated with testing positive for SARS-CoV-2. However, evidence has several methodological limitations. Using an outpatient sample population, we analyzed the association of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 and smoking considering comorbidities, socioeconomic and demographic factors. Baseline data were obtained from a cohort during the first wave of the pandemic in Geneva, Switzerland (March-April 2020). RT-PCR tests were carried out on individuals suspected of having SARS-CoV-2 according to the testing strategy at that time. Logistic regressions were performed to test the association of smoking and testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 and further adjusted for comorbidities, socioeconomic and demographic factors. The sample included 5,169 participants; 60% were women and the mean age was 41 years. The unadjusted OR for testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 was 0.46 (CI: 0.38-0.54). After adjustment for comorbidities, socioeconomic and demographic factors, smoking was still negatively associated with testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 (OR: 0.44; CI: 0.35-0.77). Women (OR: 0.79; CI: 0.69-0.91), higher postal income (OR: 0.97; CI: 0.95-0.99), having respiratory (OR: 0.68; CI: 0.55-0.84) and immunosuppressive disorders (OR: 0.63; CI: 0.44-0.88) also showed independent negative associations with a positive test for SARS-CoV-2. Smoking was negatively associated with a positive test for SARS-CoV-2 independently of comorbidities, socioeconomic and demographic factors. Since having respiratory or immunosuppressive conditions and being females and healthcare workers were similarly negatively associated with SARS-CoV-2 positive testing, we hypothesize that risk factor-related protective or testing behaviors could have induced a negative association with SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , Female , Humans , Outpatients , Smoking/adverse effects , Switzerland/epidemiology
13.
Euro Surveill ; 26(43)2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1528793

ABSTRACT

BackgroundUp-to-date seroprevalence estimates are critical to describe the SARS-CoV-2 immune landscape and to guide public health decisions.AimWe estimate seroprevalence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies 15 months into the COVID-19 pandemic and 6 months into the vaccination campaign.MethodsWe conducted a population-based cross-sectional serosurvey between 1 June and 7 July 2021, recruiting participants from age- and sex-stratified random samples of the general population. We tested participants for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies targeting the spike (S) or nucleocapsid (N) proteins using the Roche Elecsys immunoassays. We estimated the anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies seroprevalence following vaccination and/or infection (anti-S antibodies), or infection only (anti-N antibodies).ResultsAmong 3,355 individuals (54.1% women; 20.8% aged < 18 years and 13.4% aged ≥ 65 years), 2,161 (64.4%) had anti-S antibodies and 906 (27.0%) had anti-N antibodies. The total seroprevalence was 66.1% (95% credible interval (CrI): 64.1-68.0). We estimated that 29.9% (95% Crl: 28.0-31.9) of the population developed antibodies after infection; the rest having developed antibodies via vaccination. Seroprevalence estimates differed markedly across age groups, being lowest among children aged 0-5 years (20.8%; 95% Crl: 15.5-26.7) and highest among older adults aged ≥ 75 years (93.1%; 95% Crl: 89.6-96.0). Seroprevalence of antibodies developed via infection and/or vaccination was higher among participants with higher educational level.ConclusionMost of the population has developed anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, despite most teenagers and children remaining vulnerable to infection. As the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant spreads and vaccination rates stagnate, efforts are needed to address vaccine hesitancy, particularly among younger individuals and to minimise spread among children.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Adolescent , Aged , Antibodies, Viral , Child , Child, Preschool , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Immunization Programs , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Pandemics , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Switzerland
14.
Swiss Med Wkly ; 151: w30071, 2021 11 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1526930

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting containment measures had and still have a profound impact on everyday life. Both the fear of infection and the imposed restrictions can have biopsychosocial consequences. The aim of the present study was to analyze whether there is a difference in the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of primary school children in 2014/15 compared to in 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: The present study included 1,712 children aged 5 to 11 years who either participated in the baseline assessment of the SOPHYA cohort study in 2014/15 or were newly recruited during follow-up of the cohort in 2020. In both surveys, the children invited for participation were identified based on registry data. HRQoL was assessed with the validated KINDL-R questionnaire, which scores HRQoL along six different dimensions. RESULTS: The overall scores (82.4 [81.8; 83.0] vs. 79.6 [79,1; 80.2]), and in particular the emotional well-being scores (85.6 [84.6; 86.6] vs. 83.3 [82.4; 84.2]), were lower during the year of the pandemic (2020) compared to the survey year 2014/15. The highest decrease between 2014/15 and 2020 in the adjusted models was seen for the youngest age group (-3.9 points), followed by children from families with a high income (-3.2 points), girls (-3.1 points), Swiss citizens (-3.1 points) and children from the German-speaking part of Switzerland (-3.1 points). HRQoL was particularly low during periods with restrictions and at the height of the COVID-19 waves in 2020. CONCLUSION: The SOPHYA-study showed that HRQoL, and especially emotional well-being, was lower in 5 to 11-year-old children in Switzerland during the first year of the pandemic compared to the results from the survey conducted in 2014/15. In the year of the pandemic, the scores were lowest at the height of the COVID-19 waves and their associated restrictions. As it cannot be distinguished whether fear of the disease itself or the restrictions caused this decrease in HRQoL, containment policies should keep COVID-19 infections as low as possible, but still enable children to profit from protective factors such as leisure activities, physical activity and social contact.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Quality of Life , Child , Child, Preschool , Cohort Studies , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Schools , Surveys and Questionnaires , Switzerland/epidemiology
16.
GMS J Med Educ ; 38(4): Doc81, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1523662

ABSTRACT

Background: Due to the pandemic-related restrictions in classroom teaching at the medical faculties of the LMU Munich and the University of Basel, teaching methods with standardized patients (SPs), were shifted to a digital, web-based format at short notice as of April 2020. We report on our experiences with the WebEncounter program, which was used for the first time in German-speaking countries. The program enables one-to-one encounters between SPs and students. Students receive an invitational email with brief instructions and background information on the case. SPs use case-specific criteria that are compliant with the learning objectives for digital evaluation during the encounter. A feedback session takes place immediately following the encounter. The SPs address the didactically relevant sections and can illustrate them with the corresponding video sequences. Finally, the students receive the links to the video recordings of the encounter and the feedback unit by email. Project description: The aim of this pilot study was to analyze the practicability of the program and its acceptance by students and SPs. In addition, we examined whether the operationalization of the learning objectives in the form of assessment items has an impact on the content and thematic development of courses in the area of doctor-patient communication. Methods: To implement the program, patient cases previously tested in communication seminars in Munich and Basel were rewritten and case-specific evaluation criteria were developed. SPs were trained to use the program, to present their patient figure online and to give feedback. The experience of those involved (faculty, SPs and SP trainers, students) in implementing the program was documented at various levels. The frequency and causes of technical problems were described. Student results on the patient cases and on the feedback items were collected quantitatively and, where possible, supplemented by free-text statements. Results: Data from 218/220 students in Basel and 120/127 students in Munich were collected and evaluated. Students were very satisfied with the patient cases, the encounter with the SPs and their feedback: 3.81±0.42. SPs experienced the training as an increase in their competence and the structured feedback as particularly positive. The training effort per SP was between 2.5 and 4 hours. The results show predominantly normally-distributed, case-specific sum scores of the evaluation criteria. The analysis of the individual assessment items refers to learning objectives that students find difficult to achieve (e.g. explicitly structuring the conversation). Problems in the technical implementation (<10 percent of the encounters) were due mainly to the use of insufficient hardware or internet connection problems. The need to define case-specific evaluation criteria triggered a discussion in the group of study directors about learning objectives and their operationalization. Summary: Web-based encounters can be built into the ongoing communication curriculum with reasonable effort. Training the SPs and heeding the technical requirements are of central importance. Practicing the virtual consultation was evaluated very positively by the students - in particular, the immediate feedback in the protected dialogue was appreciated by all involved.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Communication , Physician-Patient Relations , Remote Consultation , Clinical Competence/statistics & numerical data , Feedback , Germany , Humans , Internet , Pilot Projects , Remote Consultation/standards , Switzerland
17.
BMC Pulm Med ; 21(1): 136, 2021 Apr 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1511742

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: All over the world, SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia is causing a significant short-term morbidity and mortality, but the medium-term impact on lung function and quality of life of affected patients are still unknown. METHODS: In this prospective observational study, 39 patients with SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia were recruited from a single COVID-19 hospital in Southern Switzerland. At three months patients underwent radiological and functional follow-up through CT scan, lung function tests, and 6 min walking test. Furthermore, quality of life was assessed through self-reported questionnaires. RESULTS: Among 39 patients with SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia, 32 (82% of all participants) presented abnormalities in CT scan and 25 (64.1%) had lung function tests impairment at three months. Moreover, 31 patients (79.5%) reported a perception of poor health due to respiratory symptoms and all 39 patients showed an overall decreased quality of life. CONCLUSIONS: Medium-term follow up at three months of patients diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia shows the persistence of abnormalities in CT scans, a significant functional impairment assessed by lung function tests and a decreased quality of life in affected patients. Further studies evaluating the long-term impact are warranted to guarantee an appropriate follow-up to patients recovering from SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/physiopathology , Lung/physiopathology , Quality of Life , Aged , COVID-19/diagnostic imaging , Convalescence , Female , Forced Expiratory Volume , Health Status , Humans , Length of Stay , Lung/diagnostic imaging , Male , Middle Aged , Prospective Studies , Pulmonary Diffusing Capacity , Recovery of Function , Respiratory Function Tests , SARS-CoV-2 , Switzerland , Tomography, X-Ray Computed , Vital Capacity , Walk Test
18.
Front Public Health ; 9: 692884, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1506386

ABSTRACT

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic and its countermeasures may have had a significant impact on the psychological well-being of specific population subgroups. The present study investigated whether sexual minority men (defined here as attracted partly or exclusively to men) from an ongoing cohort study of young Swiss men experienced different psychological impacts, levels of substance use and addictive behaviors, and to which degree pre-existing vulnerabilities and participants experiences during the crisis might explain these differences. Methods: An ongoing cohort sample based on the general population of young Swiss men (mean age = 29.07 years; SD = 1.27) was assessed before and during the COVID-19 crisis for depression, stress, sleep quality, substance use and addictive behaviors. Additionally, during the crisis, we assessed its impact in form of fear, isolation and traumatic experiences. Potential associations between these outcomes and sexual orientation (sexual minority vs. heterosexual) were tested using linear regression models. It was additionally estimated to which degree these associations were attenuated if adjusted for differences in mental health, personality and socioeconomic status before the crisis, as well as the experience of the COVID-19 crisis (infection with the virus and changes to work situation). Results: Compared to heterosexual men, sexual minority men showed higher levels of psychological trauma (b = 0.37 [0.25, 0.49]), fear (b = 0.18 [0.06, 0.30]) and isolation (b = 0.32 [0.20, 0.44]) due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as higher levels of depression (b = 0.31 [0.20, 0.41]) and lower sleep quality (b = -0.13 [-0.24, -0.02]) during the crisis. These differences were to a large degree explained by higher pre-crisis levels of mental health problems and the personality dimension of neuroticism-anxiety. Sexual minority men showed higher overall levels of substance use and addictive behaviors, but these differences were already present before the crisis. Conclusion: The COVID-19 crisis may have worsened pre-existing vulnerabilities in sexual minority men, leading to its greater psychological impact on them than on heterosexual men. Reducing minority stress due to sexual orientation may help not only to improve mental health among important proportions of the population but also to reduce their vulnerability to crises. Services offering psychological support to sexual minorities may need to be reinforced during crises.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Sexual and Gender Minorities , Adult , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Sexual Behavior , Switzerland/epidemiology
19.
PLoS One ; 16(11): e0258700, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1504697

ABSTRACT

Protecting healthcare professionals is crucial in maintaining a functioning healthcare system. The risk of infection and optimal preventive strategies for healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic remain poorly understood. Here we report the results of a cohort study that included pre- and asymptomatic healthcare workers. A weekly testing regime has been performed in this cohort since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to identify infected healthcare workers. Based on these observations we have developed a mathematical model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission that integrates the sources of infection from inside and outside the hospital. The data were used to study how regular testing and a desynchronisation protocol are effective in preventing transmission of COVID-19 infection at work, and compared both strategies in terms of workforce availability and cost-effectiveness. We showed that case incidence among healthcare workers is higher than would be explained solely by community infection. Furthermore, while testing and desynchronisation protocols are both effective in preventing nosocomial transmission, regular testing maintains work productivity with implementation costs.


Subject(s)
Asymptomatic Infections , COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/economics , Health Personnel , SARS-CoV-2 , Algorithms , Cost-Benefit Analysis , Cross Infection , Data Collection , Delivery of Health Care , Hospitals , Humans , Mass Screening/methods , Models, Theoretical , Occupational Exposure , Pandemics , Risk , Stochastic Processes , Switzerland/epidemiology
20.
BMJ Open ; 11(10): e052856, 2021 10 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1495468

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate whether the COVID-19 experts who appear most frequently in media have high citation impact for their research overall, and for their COVID-19 peer-reviewed publications in particular and to examine the representation of women among such experts. DESIGN: Cross-linking of data sets of most highly visible COVID-19 media experts with citation data on the impact of their published work (career-long publication record and COVID-19-specific work). SETTING: Cable news appearance in prime-time programming or overall media appearances. PARTICIPANTS: Most highly visible COVID-19 media experts in the USA, Switzerland, Greece and Denmark. INTERVENTIONS: None. OUTCOME MEASURES: Citation data from Scopus along with discipline-specific ranks of overall career-long and COVID-19-specific impact based on a previously validated composite citation indicator. RESULTS: We assessed 76 COVID-19 experts who were highly visible in US prime-time cable news, and 50, 12 and 2 highly visible experts in media in Denmark, Greece and Switzerland, respectively. Of those, 23/76, 10/50, 2/12 and 0/2 were among the top 2% of overall citation impact among scientists in the same discipline worldwide. Moreover, 37/76, 15/50, 7/12 and 2/2 had published anything on COVID-19 that was indexed in Scopus as of 30 August 2021. Only 18/76, 6/50, 2/12 and 0/2 of the highly visible COVID-19 media experts were women. 55 scientists in the USA, 5 in Denmark, 64 in Greece and 56 in Switzerland had a higher citation impact for their COVID-19 work than any of the evaluated highly visible media COVID-19 experts in the respective country; 10/55, 2/5, 22/64 and 14/56 of them were women. CONCLUSIONS: Despite notable exceptions, there is a worrisome disconnect between COVID-19 claimed media expertise and scholarship. Highly cited women COVID-19 experts are rarely included among highly visible media experts.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Bibliometrics , Female , Greece , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Switzerland
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