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1.
Front Public Health ; 9: 739076, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1518570

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rapidly initiated COVID-19 surveillance by leveraging existing hospital networks to assess disease burden among hospitalized inpatients and inform prevention efforts. Materials and Methods: The Surveillance Platform for Enteric and Respiratory Infectious Organisms at Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (SUPERNOVA) is a network of five United States Veterans Affairs Medical Centers which serves nearly 400,000 Veterans annually and conducts laboratory-based passive and active monitoring for pathogens associated with acute gastroenteritis and acute respiratory illness among hospitalized Veterans. This paper presents surveillance methods for adapting the SUPERNOVA surveillance platform to prospectively evaluate COVID-19 epidemiology during a public health emergency, including detecting, characterizing, and monitoring patients with and without COVID-19 beginning in March 2020. To allow for case-control analyses, patients with COVID-19 and patients with non-COVID-19 acute respiratory illness were included. Results: SUPERNOVA included 1,235 participants with COVID-19 and 707 participants with other acute respiratory illnesses hospitalized during February through December 2020. Most participants were male (93.1%), with a median age of 70 years, and 45.8% non-Hispanic Black and 32.6% non-Hispanic White. Among those with COVID-19, 28.2% were transferred to an intensive care unit, 9.4% received invasive mechanical ventilation, and 13.9% died. Compared with controls, after adjusting for age, sex, and race/ethnicity, COVID-19 case-patients had significantly higher risk of mortality, respiratory failure, and invasive mechanical ventilation, and longer hospital stays. Discussion: Strengths of the SUPERNOVA platform for COVID-19 surveillance include the ability to collect and integrate multiple types of data, including clinical and illness outcome information, and SARS-CoV-2 laboratory test results from respiratory and serum specimens. Analysis of data from this platform also enables formal comparisons of participants with and without COVID-19. Surveillance data collected during a public health emergency from this key U.S. population of Veterans will be useful for epidemiologic investigations of COVID-19 spectrum of disease, underlying medical conditions, virus variants, and vaccine effectiveness, according to public health priorities and needs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Veterans , Adult , Aged , Hospitals , Humans , Male , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology
3.
JAMA Netw Open ; 4(11): e2132548, 2021 11 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1499192

ABSTRACT

Importance: Compared with the general population, veterans are at high risk for COVID-19 and have a complex relationship with the government. This potentially affects their attitudes toward receiving COVID-19 vaccines. Objective: To assess veterans' attitudes toward and intentions to receive COVID-19 vaccines. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cross-sectional web-based survey study used data from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Survey of Healthcare Experiences of Patients' Veterans Insight Panel, fielded between March 12 and 28, 2021. Of 3420 veterans who were sent a link to complete a 58-item web-based survey, 1178 veterans (34%) completed the survey. Data were analyzed from April 1 to August 25, 2021. Exposures: Veterans eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. Main Outcomes and Measures: The outcomes of interest were veterans' experiences with COVID-19, vaccination status and intention groups, reasons for receiving or not receiving a vaccine, self-reported health status, and trusted and preferred sources of information about COVID-19 vaccines. Reasons for not getting vaccinated were classified into categories of vaccine deliberation, dissent, distrust, indifference, skepticism, and policy and processes. Results: Among 1178 respondents, 974 (83%) were men, 130 (11%) were women, and 141 (12%) were transgender or nonbinary; 58 respondents (5%) were Black, 54 veterans (5%) were Hispanic or Latino, and 987 veterans (84%) were non-Hispanic White. The mean (SD) age of respondents was 66.7 (10.1) years. A total of 817 respondents (71%) self-reported being vaccinated against COVID-19. Of 339 respondents (29%) who were not vaccinated, those unsure of getting vaccinated were more likely to report fair or poor overall health (32 respondents [43%]) and mental health (33 respondents [44%]) than other nonvaccinated groups (overall health: range, 20%-32%; mental health: range, 18%-40%). Top reasons for not being vaccinated were skepticism (120 respondents [36%] were concerned about side effects; 65 respondents [20%] preferred using few medications; 63 respondents [19%] preferred gaining natural immunity), deliberation (74 respondents [22%] preferred to wait because vaccine is new), and distrust (61 respondents [18%] did not trust the health care system). Among respondents who were vaccinated, preventing oneself from getting sick (462 respondents [57%]) and contributing to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic (453 respondents [56%]) were top reasons for getting vaccinated. All veterans reported the VA as 1 of their top trusted sources of information. The proportion of respondents trusting their VA health care practitioner as a source of vaccine information was higher among those unsure about vaccination compared with those who indicated they would definitely not or probably not get vaccinated (18 respondents [26%] vs 15 respondents [15%]). There were no significant associations between vaccine intention groups and age (χ24 = 5.90; P = .21) or gender (χ22 = 3.99; P = .14). Conclusions and Relevance: These findings provide information needed to develop trusted messages used in conversations between VA health care practitioners and veterans addressing specific vaccine hesitancy reasons, as well as those in worse health. Conversations need to emphasize societal reasons for getting vaccinated and benefits to one's own health.


Subject(s)
Attitude , Intention , Vaccination/psychology , Veterans/psychology , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires , United States/epidemiology , Vaccination/statistics & numerical data , Veterans/statistics & numerical data
4.
PLoS One ; 16(10): e0259061, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1496526

ABSTRACT

Effective, low-cost therapeutics are needed to prevent and treat COVID-19. Severe COVID-19 disease is linked to excessive inflammation. Disulfiram is an approved oral drug used to treat alcohol use disorder that is a potent anti-inflammatory agent and an inhibitor of the viral proteases. We investigated the potential effects of disulfiram on SARS-CoV-2 infection and disease severity in an observational study using a large database of clinical records from the national US Veterans Affairs healthcare system. A multivariable Cox regression adjusted for demographic information and diagnosis of alcohol use disorder revealed a reduced risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection with disulfiram use at a hazard ratio of 0.66 (34% lower risk, 95% confidence interval 24-43%). There were no COVID-19 related deaths among the 188 SARS-CoV-2 positive patients treated with disulfiram, in contrast to 5-6 statistically expected deaths based on the untreated population (P = 0.03). Our epidemiological results suggest that disulfiram may contribute to the reduced incidence and severity of COVID-19. These results support carefully planned clinical trials to assess the potential therapeutic effects of disulfiram in COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Disulfiram/therapeutic use , Adult , Alcoholism/complications , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/metabolism , Cohort Studies , Disulfiram/metabolism , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Proportional Hazards Models , Retrospective Studies , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Severity of Illness Index , Veterans
5.
Am J Epidemiol ; 190(11): 2405-2419, 2021 11 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1493668

ABSTRACT

Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) was proposed as an early therapy for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) after in vitro studies indicated possible benefit. Previous in vivo observational studies have presented conflicting results, though recent randomized clinical trials have reported no benefit from HCQ among patients hospitalized with COVID-19. We examined the effects of HCQ alone and in combination with azithromycin in a hospitalized population of US veterans with COVID-19, using a propensity score-adjusted survival analysis with imputation of missing data. According to electronic health record data from the US Department of Veterans Affairs health care system, 64,055 US Veterans were tested for the virus that causes COVID-19 between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020. Of the 7,193 veterans who tested positive, 2,809 were hospitalized, and 657 individuals were prescribed HCQ within the first 48-hours of hospitalization for the treatment of COVID-19. There was no apparent benefit associated with HCQ receipt, alone or in combination with azithromycin, and there was an increased risk of intubation when HCQ was used in combination with azithromycin (hazard ratio = 1.55; 95% confidence interval: 1.07, 2.24). In conclusion, we assessed the effectiveness of HCQ with or without azithromycin in treatment of patients hospitalized with COVID-19, using a national sample of the US veteran population. Using rigorous study design and analytic methods to reduce confounding and bias, we found no evidence of a survival benefit from the administration of HCQ.


Subject(s)
Anti-Bacterial Agents/therapeutic use , Azithromycin/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Hydroxychloroquine/therapeutic use , Veterans/statistics & numerical data , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Anti-Bacterial Agents/adverse effects , Azithromycin/adverse effects , COVID-19/mortality , Drug Therapy, Combination , Female , Humans , Hydroxychloroquine/adverse effects , Intention to Treat Analysis , Machine Learning , Male , Middle Aged , Pharmacoepidemiology , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Treatment Outcome , United States/epidemiology
6.
J Int AIDS Soc ; 24 Suppl 6: e25810, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1487489

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is the largest provider of HIV care in the United States. Changes in healthcare delivery became necessary with the COVID-19 pandemic. We compared HIV healthcare delivery during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic to a prior similar calendar period. METHODS: We included 27,674 people with HIV (PWH) enrolled in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study prior to 1 March 2019, with ≥1 healthcare encounter from 1 March 2019 to 29 February 2020 (2019) and/or 1 March 2020 to 28 February 2021 (2020). We counted monthly general medicine/infectious disease (GM/ID) clinic visits and HIV-1 RNA viral load (VL) tests. We determined the percentage with ≥1 clinic visit (in-person vs. telephone/video [virtual]) and ≥1 VL test (detectable vs. suppressed) for 2019 and 2020. Using pharmacy records, we summarized antiretroviral (ARV) medication refill length (<90 vs. ≥90 days) and monthly ARV coverage. RESULTS: Most patients had ≥1 GM/ID visit in 2019 (96%) and 2020 (95%). For 2019, 27% of visits were virtual compared to 64% in 2020. In 2019, 82% had VL measured compared to 74% in 2020. Of those with VL measured, 92% and 91% had suppressed VL in 2019 and 2020. ARV refills for ≥90 days increased from 39% in 2019 to 51% in 2020. ARV coverage was similar for all months of 2019 and 2020 ranging from 76% to 80% except for March 2019 (72%). Women were less likely than men to be on ARVs or to have a VL test in both years. CONCLUSIONS: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the VA increased the use of virtual visits and longer ARV refills, while maintaining a high percentage of patients with suppressed VL among those with VL measured. Despite decreased in-person services during the pandemic, access to ARVs was not disrupted. More follow-up time is needed to determine whether overall health was impacted by the use of differentiated service delivery and to evaluate whether a long-term shift to increased virtual healthcare could be beneficial, particularly for PWH in rural areas or with transportation barriers. Programmes to increase ARV use and VL testing for women are needed.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Veterans , Cohort Studies , Female , HIV Infections/drug therapy , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology
7.
JAMA Netw Open ; 4(10): e2128391, 2021 10 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1453501

ABSTRACT

Importance: Effectiveness of mRNA vaccinations in a diverse older population with high comorbidity is unknown. Objectives: To describe the scope of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout among US veterans, and to estimate mRNA COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness (VE) as measured by rates of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Design, Setting, and Participants: This matched test-negative case-control study was conducted using SARS-CoV-2 test results at Veterans Health Administration sites from December 14, 2020, to March 14, 2021. Vaccine coverage was estimated for all veterans. VE against SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19-related hospitalization and death were estimated using electronic health records from veterans who routinely sought care at a VHA facility and had a test result positive for SARS-CoV-2 (cases) or negative for SARS-CoV-2 (controls). Cases and controls were matched on time of test and geographic region. Data were analyzed from May to July 2021. Exposures: Vaccination status, defined as unvaccinated, partially vaccinated (≥14 days after first dose until second dose), or fully vaccinated (≥14 days after second dose), at time of test. Main Outcomes and Measures: The main outcome of interest was a positive result for SARS-CoV-2 on a polymerase chain reaction or antigen test. Secondary outcomes included COVID-19-related hospitalization and death, defined by discharge data and proximity of event to positive test result. VE was estimated from odds ratios for SARS-CoV-2 infection with 95% CIs. Results: Among 6 647 733 veterans included (3 350 373 veterans [50%] aged ≥65 years; 6 014 798 [90%] men and 632 935 [10%] women; 461 645 Hispanic veterans of any race [7%], 1 102 471 non-Hispanic Black veterans [17%], and 4 361 621 non-Hispanic White veterans [66%]), 1 363 180 (21%) received at least 1 COVID-19 vaccination by March 7, 2021. In this period, during which the share of SARS-CoV-2 variants Alpha, Epsilon, and Iota had started to increase in the US, estimates of COVID-19 VE against infection, regardless of symptoms, was 95% (95% CI, 93%-96%) for full vaccination and 64% (95% CI, 59%-68%) for partial vaccination. Estimated VE against COVID-19-related hospitalization for full vaccination was 91% (95% CI 83%-95%); there were no deaths among veterans who were fully vaccinated. VE against infection was similar across subpopulations (non-Hispanic Black, 94% [95% CI, 88%-97%]; Hispanic [any race], 83% [95% CI, 45%-95%]; non-Hispanic White, 92% [95% CI 88%-94%]; rural, 94% [95% CI, 89%-96%]; urban, 93% 95% CI, 89%-95%]). Conclusions and Relevance: For veterans of all racial and ethnic subgroups living in urban or rural areas, mRNA vaccination was associated with substantially decreased risk of COVID-19 infection and hospitalization, with no deaths among fully vaccinated veterans.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19/prevention & control , RNA, Messenger , Vaccination Coverage , Veterans , African Americans , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Case-Control Studies , European Continental Ancestry Group , Female , Hispanic Americans , Hospitalization , Humans , Male , Odds Ratio , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Treatment Outcome , United States , United States Department of Veterans Affairs
9.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(19)2021 Sep 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1438597

ABSTRACT

The current study assessed performance of the new Veterans Affairs (VA) women cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk score in predicting women veterans' 60-day CVD event risk using VA COVID-19 shared cohort data. The study data included 17,264 women veterans-9658 White, 6088 African American, and 1518 Hispanic women veterans-ever treated at US VA hospitals and clinics between 24 February and 25 November 2020. The VA women CVD risk score discriminated patients with CVD events at 60 days from those without CVD events with accuracy (area under the curve) of 78%, 50%, and 83% for White, African American, and Hispanic women veterans, respectively. The VA women CVD risk score itself showed good accuracy in predicting CVD events at 60 days for White and Hispanic women veterans, while it performed poorly for African American women veterans. The future studies are needed to identify non-traditional factors and biomarkers associated with increased CVD risk specific to African American women and incorporate them to the CVD risk assessment.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cardiovascular Diseases , Veterans , Cardiovascular Diseases/epidemiology , Female , Heart Disease Risk Factors , Humans , Incidence , Information Dissemination , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology , United States Department of Veterans Affairs
10.
Addict Sci Clin Pract ; 16(1): 55, 2021 09 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1430481

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Improving access to medication treatment of opioid use disorder (MOUD) is a national priority, yet common modifiable barriers (e.g., limited provider knowledge, negative beliefs about MOUD) often challenge implementation of MOUD delivery. To address these barriers, the VA launched a multifaceted implementation intervention focused on planning and educational strategies to increase MOUD delivery in 18 medical facilities. The purpose of this investigation was to determine if a multifaceted intervention approach to increase MOUD delivery changed providers' perceptions about MOUD over the first year of implementation. METHODS: Cross-disciplinary teams of clinic providers and leadership from primary care, pain, and mental health clinics at 18 VA medical facilities received invitations to complete an anonymous, electronic survey prior to intervention launch (baseline) and at 12- month follow-up. Responses were summarized using descriptive statistics, and changes over time were compared using regression models adjusted for gender and prescriber status, and clustered on facility. Responses to open-ended questions were thematically analyzed using a template analysis approach. RESULTS: Survey response rates at baseline and follow-up were 57.1% (56/98) and 50.4% (61/121), respectively. At both time points, most respondents agreed that MOUD delivery is important (94.7 vs. 86.9%), lifesaving (92.8 vs. 88.5%) and evidence-based (85.2 vs. 89.5%). Over one-third (37.5%) viewed MOUD delivery as time-consuming, and only 53.7% affirmed that clinic providers wanted to prescribe MOUD at baseline; similar responses were seen at follow-up (34.5 and 52.4%, respectively). Respondents rated their knowledge about OUD, comfort discussing opioid use with patients, job satisfaction, ability to help patients with OUD, and support from colleagues favorably at both time points. Respondents' ratings of MOUD delivery filling a gap in care were high but declined significantly from baseline to follow-up (85.7 vs. 73.7%, p < 0.04). Open-ended responses identified implementation barriers including lack of support to diagnose and treat OUD and lack of time. CONCLUSIONS: Although perceptions about MOUD generally were positive, targeted education and planning strategies did not improve providers' and clinical leaders' perceptions of MOUD over time. Strategies that improve leaders' prioritization and support of MOUD and address time constraints related to delivering MOUD may increase access to MOUD in non-substance use treatment clinics.


Subject(s)
Buprenorphine , Opioid-Related Disorders , Veterans , Humans , Opioid-Related Disorders/drug therapy , Primary Health Care
11.
J Infect Dis ; 224(6): 967-975, 2021 09 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1429245

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Early convalescent plasma transfusion may reduce mortality in patients with nonsevere coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). METHODS: This study emulates a (hypothetical) target trial using observational data from a cohort of US veterans admitted to a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facility between 1 May and 17 November 2020 with nonsevere COVID-19. The intervention was convalescent plasma initiated within 2 days of eligibility. Thirty-day mortality was compared using cumulative incidence curves, risk differences, and hazard ratios estimated from pooled logistic models with inverse probability weighting to adjust for confounding. RESULTS: Of 11 269 eligible person-trials contributed by 4755 patients, 402 trials were assigned to the convalescent plasma group. Forty and 671 deaths occurred within the plasma and nonplasma groups, respectively. The estimated 30-day mortality risk was 6.5% (95% confidence interval [CI], 4.0%-9.7%) in the plasma group and 6.2% (95% CI, 5.6%-7.0%) in the nonplasma group. The associated risk difference was 0.30% (95% CI, -2.30% to 3.60%) and the hazard ratio was 1.04 (95% CI, .64-1.62). CONCLUSIONS: Our target trial emulation estimated no meaningful differences in 30-day mortality between nonsevere COVID-19 patients treated and untreated with convalescent plasma. Clinical Trials Registration. NCT04545047.


Subject(s)
Blood Component Transfusion , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/therapy , Immunization, Passive , Plasma , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Female , Hospitalization , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Treatment Outcome , United States/epidemiology , Veterans , Young Adult
12.
Soc Sci Med ; 289: 114409, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1428489

ABSTRACT

RATIONALE: The COVID-19 pandemic has had numerous negative effects globally, contributing to mortality, social restriction, and psychological distress. To date, however, the majority of research on the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has focused on negative psychological outcomes, such as depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). OBJECTIVE: Although there is debate about the constructive vs. illusory nature of post-traumatic growth (PTG), it has been found to be prevalent in a broad range of trauma survivors, including individuals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The objective of this study was to identify pre- and peri-pandemic factors associated with pandemic-related PTG in a national sample of U.S. veterans. METHODS: Data were analyzed from the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study, which surveyed a nationally representative cohort of 3078 U.S. veterans. A broad range of pre-pandemic and 1-year peri-pandemic factors associated with pandemic-related PTG were evaluated. Curve estimation and receiver operating characteristic curve analyses were conducted to characterize the association between pandemic-related PTSD symptoms and PTG. RESULTS: Worries about the effect of the pandemic on one's physical and mental health, PTG in response to previous traumas (i.e., new possibilities and improved interpersonal relationships), and pandemic-related avoidance symptoms were the strongest correlates of pandemic-related PTG. An inverted-U shaped relationship provided the best fit to the association between pandemic-related PTSD symptoms and endorsement of PTG, with moderate severity of PTSD symptoms optimally efficient in identifying veterans who endorsed PTG. CONCLUSIONS: Results of this study suggest that psychosocial interventions that promote more deliberate and organized rumination about the pandemic and enhance PTG in response to prior traumatic events may help facilitate positive psychological changes related to the COVID-19 pandemic in U.S. military veterans. Longitudinal studies on functional correlates of PTG may help inform whether these changes are constructive vs. illusory in nature.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Posttraumatic Growth, Psychological , Veterans , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
13.
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep ; 70(37): 1294-1299, 2021 Sep 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1417367

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 mRNA vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) have been shown to be highly protective against COVID-19-associated hospitalizations (1-3). Data are limited on the level of protection against hospitalization among disproportionately affected populations in the United States, particularly during periods in which the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, predominates (2). U.S. veterans are older, more racially diverse, and have higher prevalences of underlying medical conditions than persons in the general U.S. population (2,4). CDC assessed the effectiveness of mRNA vaccines against COVID-19-associated hospitalization among 1,175 U.S. veterans aged ≥18 years hospitalized at five Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMCs) during February 1-August 6, 2021. Among these hospitalized persons, 1,093 (93.0%) were men, the median age was 68 years, 574 (48.9%) were non-Hispanic Black (Black), 475 were non-Hispanic White (White), and 522 (44.4%) had a Charlson comorbidity index score of ≥3 (5). Overall adjusted vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19-associated hospitalization was 86.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 80.4%-91.1%) and was similar before (February 1-June 30) and during (July 1-August 6) SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant predominance (84.1% versus 89.3%, respectively). Vaccine effectiveness was 79.8% (95% CI = 67.7%-87.4%) among adults aged ≥65 years and 95.1% (95% CI = 89.1%-97.8%) among those aged 18-64 years. COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are highly effective in preventing COVID-19-associated hospitalization in this older, racially diverse population of predominately male U.S. veterans. Additional evaluations of vaccine effectiveness among various age groups are warranted. To prevent COVID-19-related hospitalizations, all eligible persons should receive COVID-19 vaccination.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/prevention & control , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Veterans/statistics & numerical data , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/therapy , Female , Hospitals, Veterans , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , United States/epidemiology , United States Department of Veterans Affairs , Vaccines, Synthetic , Young Adult
14.
J Am Geriatr Soc ; 69(11): 3044-3050, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1398482

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Among nursing home residents, for whom age and frailty can blunt febrile responses to illness, the temperature used to define fever can influence the clinical recognition of COVID-19 symptoms. To assess the potential for differences in the definition of fever to characterize nursing home residents with COVID-19 infections as symptomatic, pre-symptomatic, or asymptomatic, we conducted a retrospective study on a national cohort of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Community Living Center (CLC) residents tested for SARS-CoV-2. METHODS: Residents with positive SARS-CoV-2 tests were classified as asymptomatic if they did not experience any symptoms, and as symptomatic or pre-symptomatic if the experienced a fever (>100.4°F) before or following a positive SARS-CoV-2 test, respectively. All-cause 30-day mortality was assessed as was the influence of a lower temperature threshold (>99.0°F) on classification of residents with positive SARS-CoV-2 tests. RESULTS: From March 2020 through November 2020, VA CLCs tested 11,908 residents for SARS-CoV-2 using RT-PCR, with a positivity of rate of 13% (1557). Among residents with positive tests and using >100.4°F, 321 (21%) were symptomatic, 425 (27%) were pre-symptomatic, and 811 (52%) were asymptomatic. All-cause 30-day mortality among residents with symptomatic and pre-symptomatic COVID-19 infections was 24% and 26%, respectively, while those with an asymptomatic infection had mortality rates similar to residents with negative SAR-CoV-2 tests (10% and 5%, respectively). Using >99.0°F would have increased the number of residents categorized as symptomatic at the time of testing from 321 to 773. CONCLUSIONS: All-cause 30-day mortality was similar among VA CLC residents with symptomatic or pre-symptomatic COVID-19 infection, and lower than rates reported in non-VA nursing homes. A lower temperature threshold would increase the number of residents recognized as having symptomatic infection, potentially leading to earlier detection and more rapid implementation of therapeutic interventions and infection prevention and control measures.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19/diagnosis , Fever/diagnosis , Skilled Nursing Facilities , Veterans/statistics & numerical data , Aged , Asymptomatic Infections , COVID-19/complications , Female , Fever/etiology , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Retrospective Studies
15.
J Am Soc Nephrol ; 32(11): 2851-2862, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1394649

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: COVID-19 is associated with increased risk of post-acute sequelae involving pulmonary and extrapulmonary organ systems-referred to as long COVID. However, a detailed assessment of kidney outcomes in long COVID is not yet available. METHODS: We built a cohort of 1,726,683 US Veterans identified from March 1, 2020 to March 15, 2021, including 89,216 patients who were 30-day survivors of COVID-19 and 1,637,467 non-infected controls. We examined risks of AKI, eGFR decline, ESKD, and major adverse kidney events (MAKE). MAKE was defined as eGFR decline ≥50%, ESKD, or all-cause mortality. We used inverse probability-weighted survival regression, adjusting for predefined demographic and health characteristics, and algorithmically selected high-dimensional covariates, including diagnoses, medications, and laboratory tests. Linear mixed models characterized intra-individual eGFR trajectory. RESULTS: Beyond the acute illness, 30-day survivors of COVID-19 exhibited a higher risk of AKI (aHR, 1.94; 95% CI, 1.86 to 2.04), eGFR decline ≥30% (aHR, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.14 to 1.37), eGFR decline ≥40% (aHR, 1.44; 95% CI, 1.37 to 1.51), eGFR decline ≥50% (aHR, 1.62; 95% CI, 1.51 to 1.74), ESKD (aHR, 2.96; 95% CI, 2.49 to 3.51), and MAKE (aHR, 1.66; 95% CI, 1.58 to 1.74). Increase in risks of post-acute kidney outcomes was graded according to the severity of the acute infection (whether patients were non-hospitalized, hospitalized, or admitted to intensive care). Compared with non-infected controls, 30-day survivors of COVID-19 exhibited excess eGFR decline (95% CI) of -3.26 (-3.58 to -2.94), -5.20 (-6.24 to -4.16), and -7.69 (-8.27 to -7.12) ml/min per 1.73 m2 per year, respectively, in non-hospitalized, hospitalized, and those admitted to intensive care during the acute phase of COVID-19 infection. CONCLUSIONS: Patients who survived COVID-19 exhibited increased risk of kidney outcomes in the post-acute phase of the disease. Post-acute COVID-19 care should include attention to kidney disease.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , Kidney Diseases/epidemiology , Kidney Diseases/virology , Veterans/statistics & numerical data , Aged , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/therapy , Case-Control Studies , Cohort Studies , Critical Care , Female , Glomerular Filtration Rate , Hospitalization , Humans , Kidney Diseases/diagnosis , Male , Middle Aged , United States
16.
Hepatology ; 74(1): 322-335, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1384170

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Whether patients with cirrhosis have increased risk of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and the extent to which infection and cirrhosis increase the risk of adverse patient outcomes remain unclear. APPROACH AND RESULTS: We identified 88,747 patients tested for SARS-CoV-2 between March 1, 2020, and May 14, 2020, in the Veterans Affairs (VA) national health care system, including 75,315 with no cirrhosis-SARS-CoV-2-negative (C0-S0), 9,826 with no cirrhosis-SARS-CoV-2-positive (C0-S1), 3,301 with cirrhosis-SARS-CoV-2-negative (C1-S0), and 305 with cirrhosis-SARS-CoV-2-positive (C1-S1). Patients were followed through June 22, 2020. Hospitalization, mechanical ventilation, and death were modeled in time-to-event analyses using Cox proportional hazards regression. Patients with cirrhosis were less likely to test positive than patients without cirrhosis (8.5% vs. 11.5%; adjusted odds ratio, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.69-0.99). Thirty-day mortality and ventilation rates increased progressively from C0-S0 (2.3% and 1.6%) to C1-S0 (5.2% and 3.6%) to C0-S1 (10.6% and 6.5%) and to C1-S1 (17.1% and 13.0%). Among patients with cirrhosis, those who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 were 4.1 times more likely to undergo mechanical ventilation (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 4.12; 95% CI, 2.79-6.10) and 3.5 times more likely to die (aHR, 3.54; 95% CI, 2.55-4.90) than those who tested negative. Among patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection, those with cirrhosis were more likely to be hospitalized (aHR, 1.37; 95% CI, 1.12-1.66), undergo ventilation (aHR, 1.61; 95% CI, 1.05-2.46) or die (aHR, 1.65; 95% CI, 1.18-2.30) than patients without cirrhosis. Among patients with cirrhosis and SARS-CoV-2 infection, the most important predictors of mortality were advanced age, cirrhosis decompensation, and high Model for End-Stage Liver Disease score. CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2 infection was associated with a 3.5-fold increase in mortality in patients with cirrhosis. Cirrhosis was associated with a 1.7-fold increase in mortality in patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/etiology , Liver Cirrhosis/complications , SARS-CoV-2 , Veterans/statistics & numerical data , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/therapy , Female , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Liver Cirrhosis/virology , Male , Middle Aged , Proportional Hazards Models , Respiration, Artificial/statistics & numerical data , Risk Factors , United States/epidemiology , Young Adult
17.
BMJ Open ; 11(8): e049815, 2021 08 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1376506

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health and well-being of UK ex-service personnel (veterans) before and during the pandemic, and to assess associations of COVID-19 experiences and stressors with mental health, alcohol use and loneliness. DESIGN: An additional wave of data was collected from a longitudinal cohort study of the UK Armed Forces. SETTING: Online survey June-September 2020. PARTICIPANTS: Cohort members were included if they had completed a questionnaire at phase 3 of the King's Centre for Military Health Research health and well-being study (2014-2016), had left the Armed Forces after regular service, were living in the UK, had consented to follow-up and provided a valid email address. Invitation emails were sent to N=3547 with a 44% response rate (n=1562). PRIMARY OUTCOME MEASURES: Common mental health disorders (CMDs) (measured using the General Health Questionnaire, 12 items-cut-off ≥4), hazardous alcohol use (measured using the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test, 10 items-cut off ≥8) and loneliness (University of California, Los Angeles, Loneliness Scale- 3 items-cut-off ≥6). RESULTS: Veterans reported a statistically significant decrease in hazardous drinking of 48.5% to 27.6%, while CMD remained stable (non-statistically significant increase of 24.5% to 26.1%). 27.4% of veterans reported feelings of loneliness. The COVID-19 stressors of reporting difficulties with family/social relationships, boredom and difficulties with health were statistically significantly associated with CMD, hazardous drinking and loneliness, even after adjustment for previous mental health/hazardous alcohol use. CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests a COVID-19 impact on veterans' mental health, alcohol use and loneliness, particularly for those experiencing difficulties with family relationships. Veterans experienced the pandemic in similar ways to the general population and in some cases may have responded in resilient ways. While stable levels of CMD and reduction in alcohol use are positive, there remains a group of veterans who may need mental health and alcohol treatment services.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Veterans , Cohort Studies , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Mental Health , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , United Kingdom/epidemiology
19.
JAMA Psychiatry ; 78(11): 1218-1227, 2021 11 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1371312

ABSTRACT

Importance: The COVID-19 pandemic has raised considerable concerns about increased risk for suicidal behavior among US military veterans, who already had elevated rates of suicide before the pandemic. Objective: To examine longitudinal changes in suicidal behavior from before the COVID-19 pandemic to nearly 10 months into the pandemic and identify risk factors and COVID-related variables associated with new-onset suicide ideation (SI). Design, Setting, and Participants: This population-based prospective cohort study used data from the first and second wave of the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study, conducted from November 18, 2019, to December 19, 2020. Median dates of data collection for the prepandemic and peripandemic assessments were November 21, 2019, and November 14, 2020, nearly 10 months after the start of the COVID-19 public health emergency in the US. A total of 3078 US military veterans aged 22 to 99 years were included in the study. Main Outcomes and Measures: Past-year SI and suicide attempts. Results: In this cohort study of 3078 US veterans (mean [SD] age, 63.2 [14.7] years; 91.6% men; 79.3% non-Hispanic White veterans, 10.3% non-Hispanic Black veterans, and 6.0% Hispanic veterans), 233 (7.8%) reported past-year SI, and 8 (0.3%) reported suicide attempts at the peripandemic assessment. Past-year SI decreased from 10.6% prepandemic (95% CI, 9.6%-11.8%) to 7.8% peripandemic (95% CI, 6.9%-8.8%). A total of 82 veterans (2.6%) developed new-onset SI over the follow-up period. After adjusting for sociodemographic and military characteristics, the strongest risk factors and COVID-19-related variables for new-onset SI were low social support (odds ratio [OR], 2.77; 95% CI, 1.46-5.28), suicide attempt history (OR, 6.31; 95% CI, 2.71-14.67), lifetime posttraumatic stress disorder and/or depression (OR, 2.25; 95% CI, 1.16-4.35), past-year alcohol use disorder severity (OR, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.01-1.12), COVID-19 infection (OR, 2.41; 95% CI, 1.41-5.01), and worsening of social relationships during the pandemic (OR, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.16-1.88). Conclusions and Relevance: The results of this cohort study suggest that despite grim forecasts that the COVID-19 pandemic would exacerbate suicidality among US military veterans, the rate of SI decreased at the population level nearly 10 months into the pandemic. Veterans who were infected with COVID-19 were more than twice as likely to report SI, which suggests the need for future research to examine the potential link between COVID-19 infection and suicidal behavior.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Suicidal Ideation , Veterans/statistics & numerical data , Adult , Aged , Female , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Middle Aged , Prevalence , Risk Factors , United States/epidemiology
20.
Contemp Clin Trials ; 109: 106540, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1363910

ABSTRACT

There are currently no validated pharmacotherapies for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)-related insomnia. The purpose of the National Adaptive Trial for PTSD-Related Insomnia (NAP Study) is to efficiently compare to placebo the effects of three insomnia medications with different mechanisms of action that are already prescribed widely to veterans diagnosed with PTSD within U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Centers. This study plans to enroll 1224 patients from 34 VA Medical Centers into a 12- week prospective, randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial comparing trazodone, eszopiclone, and gabapentin. The primary outcome measure is insomnia, assessed with the Insomnia Severity Index. A novel aspect of this study is its adaptive design. At the recruitment midpoint, an interim analysis will be conducted to inform a decision to close recruitment to any "futile" arms (i.e. arms where further recruitment is very unlikely to yield a significant result) while maintaining the overall study recruitment target. This step could result in the enrichment of the remaining study arms, enhancing statistical power for the remaining comparisons to placebo. This study will also explore clinical, actigraphic, and biochemical predictors of treatment response that may guide future biomarker development. Lastly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this study will allow the consenting process and follow-up visits to be conducted via video or phone contact if in-person meetings are not possible. Overall, this study aims to identify at least one effective pharmacotherapy for PTSD-related insomnia, and, perhaps, to generate definitive negative data to reduce the use of ineffective insomnia medications. NATIONAL CLINICAL TRIAL (NCT) IDENTIFIED NUMBER: NCT03668041.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders , Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic , Veterans , Humans , Pandemics , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders/drug therapy , Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders/etiology , Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic/drug therapy , Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic/epidemiology
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