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1.
BMC Public Health ; 22(1): 396, 2022 02 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1785148

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic and its associated restrictions stopped people freely engaging in sexual behaviour. We explored sexual behaviour amongst men who have sex with men (MSM) using mixed methods during the multiple lockdowns in Wales. METHODS: An online survey was advertised on social media platforms (focusing on Welsh LGBT groups), from June 2020 to July 2020. MSM over 16 years were invited to take part if they were resident in Wales. Qualitative interviews were undertaken as part of a study examining knowledge and awareness of sexual health. Interviews were conducted between September 2020 and February 2021 via Zoom©. Interview data was analysed thematically and integrated with survey data. RESULTS: The survey received 70 responses, 60% (n = 42) reported not having sexual activity during lockdown. Restrictions altered the number of new sexual partners per week with over 80% (n = 56) not having any new sexual partners for the 12 weeks of the first lockdown. However, as the weeks progressed following the first lockdown there was an increase in the number of new sexual partners. Interview data indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic had a large impact on reducing sexual behaviour with other MSM in Wales. 'Lockdown fatigue' was viewed to result in different levels of adherence to the lockdown rules depending on the lockdown being discussed. Of those engaging in sex outside the rules, 'shame' was commonly reported. The restrictions were believed to have a positive impact on reducing the spread of sexually transmitted infections. CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions had a significant impact on sexual behaviours among MSM in Wales, with the majority fully adhering to the lockdown rules. Although the population were largely compliant with the lockdown restrictions, lockdown fatigue may suggest that any future lockdowns might not have the same effect.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Sexual and Gender Minorities , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control , Homosexuality, Male , Humans , Male , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Sexual Behavior , Sexual Partners , Wales/epidemiology
2.
PLoS One ; 17(3): e0261725, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1770732

ABSTRACT

We investigated daily COVID-19 cases and deaths in the 337 lower tier local authority regions in England and Wales to better understand how the disease propagated over a 15-month period. Population density scaling models revealed residual variance and skewness to be sensitive indicators of the dynamics of propagation. Lockdowns and schools reopening coincided with increased variance indicative of conditions with local impact and country scale heterogeneity. University reopening and December holidays reduced variance indicative of country scale homogenisation which reached a minimum in mid-January 2021. Homogeneous propagation was associated with better correspondence with normally distributed residuals while heterogeneous propagation was more consistent with skewed models. Skewness varied from strongly negative to strongly positive revealing an unappreciated feature of community propagation. Hot spots and super-spreading events are well understood descriptors of regional disease dynamics that would be expected to be associated with positively skewed distributions. Positively skewed behaviour was observed; however, negative skewness indicative of "cold-spots" and "super-isolation" dominated for approximately 8 months during the period of study. In contrast, death metrics showed near constant behaviour in scaling, variance, and skewness metrics over the full period with rural regions preferentially affected, an observation consistent with regional age demographics in England and Wales. Regional positions relative to density scaling laws were remarkably persistent after the first 5-9 days of the available data set. The determinants of this persistent behaviour probably precede the pandemic and remain unchanged.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , England/epidemiology , Humans , Population Density , Wales/epidemiology
3.
BMC Public Health ; 22(1): 583, 2022 03 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1759729

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In response to successive COVID-19 restrictions in Wales, the Welsh ACE Support Hub launched the #TimeToBeKind campaign in March 2021. The campaign used a short film broadcast on national television and promoted on social media to encourage behaviour change for kindness. We evaluated the #TimeToBeKind campaign film to identify whether watching the film would result in increased intention to act in ways that promote kindness to others and if intentions were associated with being emotionally affected by the film. METHODS: A mixed methods evaluation was employed, using a short online survey and interaction with the film on the Twitter social media platform. The online survey measured public (n = 390) attitudes towards the film including feelings invoked, and behavioural intentions for acts of kindness as a result of viewing the film. Tweets which interacted with the film (n = 59; likes, re-tweets or comments), and tweet sentiment (positive, negative, or neutral) towards the film were also explored. RESULTS: The majority of participants reported positive attitudes to the film and agreed that they understood the campaign message (91.8%). 67.9% reported that the film made them feel upset or sad and for 22.6% the film resonated with their lockdown experience. As a result of seeing the film, 63.6% reported intentions to be kinder to others, 65.6% intended to try and help other members of their community, and 70.5% were more likely to check in on friends, family and neighbours. A higher proportion of individuals who were emotionally affected by the film (e.g. upset or sad, hopeful or encouraged, gained something positive) and those for whom the film resonated with their lockdown experience reported increased kindness behavioural intentions as a result of seeing the film. CONCLUSIONS: Film can be an effective tool to promote behaviour change for kindness. Films that provoke strong emotional reactions can still be perceived positively and lead to behaviour change. With the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating a move online for many, the findings of the present evaluation are relevant to how public health messaging can adapt and utilise this space to target individuals and promote behaviour change.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Communicable Disease Control , Humans , Mass Media , Pandemics , Wales
4.
Int J Popul Data Sci ; 5(4): 1697, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1754159

ABSTRACT

Introduction: COVID-19 risk prediction algorithms can be used to identify at-risk individuals from short-term serious adverse COVID-19 outcomes such as hospitalisation and death. It is important to validate these algorithms in different and diverse populations to help guide risk management decisions and target vaccination and treatment programs to the most vulnerable individuals in society. Objectives: To validate externally the QCOVID risk prediction algorithm that predicts mortality outcomes from COVID-19 in the adult population of Wales, UK. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study using routinely collected individual-level data held in the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) Databank. The cohort included individuals aged between 19 and 100 years, living in Wales on 24th January 2020, registered with a SAIL-providing general practice, and followed-up to death or study end (28th July 2020). Demographic, primary and secondary healthcare, and dispensing data were used to derive all the predictor variables used to develop the published QCOVID algorithm. Mortality data were used to define time to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 death. Performance metrics, including R2 values (explained variation), Brier scores, and measures of discrimination and calibration were calculated for two periods (24th January-30th April 2020 and 1st May-28th July 2020) to assess algorithm performance. Results: 1,956,760 individuals were included. 1,192 (0.06%) and 610 (0.03%) COVID-19 deaths occurred in the first and second time periods, respectively. The algorithms fitted the Welsh data and population well, explaining 68.8% (95% CI: 66.9-70.4) of the variation in time to death, Harrell's C statistic: 0.929 (95% CI: 0.921-0.937) and D statistic: 3.036 (95% CI: 2.913-3.159) for males in the first period. Similar results were found for females and in the second time period for both sexes. Conclusions: The QCOVID algorithm developed in England can be used for public health risk management for the adult Welsh population.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Algorithms , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Retrospective Studies , Wales/epidemiology , Young Adult
5.
BMC Public Health ; 22(1): 504, 2022 03 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1745471

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The lockdown periods to curb COVID-19 transmission have made it harder for survivors of domestic violence and abuse (DVA) to disclose abuse and access support services. Our study describes the impact of the first COVID-19 wave and the associated national lockdown in England and Wales on the referrals from general practice to the Identification and Referral to Improve Safety (IRIS) DVA programme. We compare this to the change in referrals in the same months in the previous year, during the school holidays in the 3 years preceding the pandemic and the period just after the first COVID-19 wave. School holiday periods were chosen as a comparator, since families, including the perpetrator, are together, affecting access to services. METHODS: We used anonymised data on daily referrals received by the IRIS DVA service in 33 areas from general practices over the period April 2017-September 2020. Interrupted-time series and non-linear regression were used to quantify the impact of the first national lockdown in March-June 2020 comparing analogous months the year before, and the impact of school holidays (01/04/2017-30/09/2020) on number of referrals, reporting Incidence Rate Ratio (IRR), 95% confidence intervals and p-values. RESULTS: The first national lockdown in 2020 led to reduced number of referrals to DVA services (27%, 95%CI = (21,34%)) compared to the period before and after, and 19% fewer referrals compared to the same period in the year before. A reduction in the number of referrals was also evident during the school holidays with the highest reduction in referrals during the winter 2019 pre-pandemic school holiday (44%, 95%CI = (32,54%)) followed by the effect from the summer of 2020 school holidays (20%, 95%CI = (10,30%)). There was also a smaller reduction (13-15%) in referrals during the longer summer holidays 2017-2019; and some reduction (5-16%) during the shorter spring holidays 2017-2019. CONCLUSIONS: We show that the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020 led to decline in referrals to DVA services. Our findings suggest an association between decline in referrals to DVA services for women experiencing DVA and prolonged periods of systemic closure proxied here by both the first COVID-19 national lockdown or school holidays. This highlights the need for future planning to provide adequate access and support for people experiencing DVA during future national lockdowns and during the school holidays.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Domestic Violence , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Child, Preschool , Communicable Disease Control , Domestic Violence/prevention & control , England/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Referral and Consultation , Wales/epidemiology
6.
BMJ Open ; 12(3): e054155, 2022 03 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1733648

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To understand how individuals trade off between features of non-pharmaceutical interventions (eg, lockdowns) to control a pandemic across the four nations of the UK. DESIGN: A survey that included a discrete choice experiment. The survey design was informed using policy documents, social media analysis and input from remote think-aloud interviews with members of the public (n=23). SETTING: A nationwide survey across the four nations of the UK using an online panel between 29 October and 12 December 2020. PARTICIPANTS: Individuals who are over 18 years old. A total of 4120 adults completed the survey (1112 in England, 848 in Northern Ireland, 1143 in Scotland and 1098 in Wales). PRIMARY OUTCOME MEASURE: Adult's preferences for, and trade-offs between, type of lockdown restrictions, length of lockdown, postponement of routine healthcare, excess deaths, impact on the ability to buy things and unemployment. RESULTS: The majority of adults are willing to accept higher excess deaths if this means lockdowns that are less strict, shorter and do not postpone routine healthcare. On average, respondents in England were willing to accept a higher increase in excess deaths to have less strict lockdown restrictions introduced compared with Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, respectively. In all four countries, one out of five respondents were willing to reduce excess deaths at all costs. CONCLUSIONS: The majority of the UK population is willing to accept the increase in excess deaths associated with introducing less strict lockdown restrictions. The acceptability of different restriction scenarios varies according to the features of the lockdown and across countries. Governments can use information about trade-off preferences to inform the introduction of different lockdown restriction levels and design compensation policies that maximise societal welfare.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Social Media , Adolescent , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Wales/epidemiology
7.
Hum Vaccin Immunother ; 18(1): 2031774, 2022 Dec 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1722106

ABSTRACT

Vaccination programs against COVID-19 vary globally with estimates of vaccine effectiveness (VE) affected by vaccine type, schedule, strain, outcome, and recipient characteristics. This study assessed VE of BNT162b2 and ChAdOx1 vaccines against PCR positive SARS-CoV-2 infection, hospital admission, and death among adults aged 50 years and older in Wales, UK during the period 7 December 2020 to 18 July 2021, when Alpha, followed by Delta, were the predominant variants. We used individual-level linked routinely collected data within the Secure Anonymized Information Linkage (SAIL) Databank. Data were available for 1,262,689 adults aged 50 years and over; coverage of one dose of any COVID-19 vaccine in this population was 92.6%, with coverage of two doses 90.4%. VE against PCR positive infection at 28-days or more post first dose of any COVID-19 vaccine was 16.0% (95%CI 9.6-22.0), and 42.0% (95%CI 36.5-47.1) seven or more days after a second dose. VE against hospital admission was higher at 72.9% (95%CI 63.6-79.8) 28 days or more post vaccination with one dose of any vaccine type, and 84.9% (95%CI 78.2-89.5) at 7 or more days post two doses. VE for one dose against death was estimated to be 80.9% (95%CI 72.1-86.9). VE against PCR positive infection and hospital admission was higher for BNT162b2 compared to ChAdOx1. In conclusion, vaccine uptake has been high among adults in Wales and VE estimates are encouraging, with two doses providing considerable protection against severe outcomes. Continued roll-out of the vaccination programme within Wales, and globally, is crucial in our fight against COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Wales/epidemiology
8.
PLoS One ; 17(2): e0264023, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1714774

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: School-based COVID-19 mitigation strategies have greatly impacted the primary school day (children aged 3-11) including: wearing face coverings, two metre distancing, no mixing of children, and no breakfast clubs or extra-curricular activities. This study examines these mitigation measures and association with COVID-19 infection, respiratory infection, and school staff wellbeing between October to December 2020 in Wales, UK. METHODS: A school staff survey captured self-reported COVID-19 mitigation measures in the school, participant anxiety and depression, and open-text responses regarding experiences of teaching and implementing measures. These survey responses were linked to national-scale COVID-19 test results data to examine association of measures in the school and the likelihood of a positive (staff or pupil) COVID-19 case in the school (clustered by school, adjusted for school size and free school meals using logistic regression). Linkage was conducted through the SAIL (Secure Anonymised Information Linkage) Databank. RESULTS: Responses were obtained from 353 participants from 59 primary schools within 15 of 22 local authorities. Having more direct non-household contacts was associated with a higher likelihood of COVID-19 positive case in the school (1-5 contacts compared to none, OR 2.89 (1.01, 8.31)) and a trend to more self-reported cold symptoms. Staff face covering was not associated with a lower odds of school COVID-19 cases (mask vs. no covering OR 2.82 (1.11, 7.14)) and was associated with higher self-reported cold symptoms. School staff reported the impacts of wearing face coverings on teaching, including having to stand closer to pupils and raise their voices to be heard. 67.1% were not able to implement two metre social distancing from pupils. We did not find evidence that maintaining a two metre distance was associated with lower rates of COVID-19 in the school. CONCLUSIONS: Implementing, adhering to and evaluating COVID-19 mitigation guidelines is challenging in primary school settings. Our findings suggest that reducing non-household direct contacts lowers infection rates. There was no evidence that face coverings, two metre social distancing or stopping children mixing was associated with lower odds of COVID-19 or cold infection rates in the school. Primary school staff found teaching challenging during COVID-19 restrictions, especially for younger learners and those with additional learning needs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Physical Distancing , SARS-CoV-2 , Schools , Students , Adolescent , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Child , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Wales/epidemiology
9.
PLoS Med ; 19(2): e1003927, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1705011

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Several countries restricted the administration of ChAdOx1 to older age groups in 2021 over safety concerns following case reports and observed versus expected analyses suggesting a possible association with cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST). Large datasets are required to precisely estimate the association between Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination and CVST due to the extreme rarity of this event. We aimed to accomplish this by combining national data from England, Scotland, and Wales. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We created data platforms consisting of linked primary care, secondary care, mortality, and virological testing data in each of England, Scotland, and Wales, with a combined cohort of 11,637,157 people and 6,808,293 person years of follow-up. The cohort start date was December 8, 2020, and the end date was June 30, 2021. The outcome measure we examined was incident CVST events recorded in either primary or secondary care records. We carried out a self-controlled case series (SCCS) analysis of this outcome following first dose vaccination with ChAdOx1 and BNT162b2. The observation period consisted of an initial 90-day reference period, followed by a 2-week prerisk period directly prior to vaccination, and a 4-week risk period following vaccination. Counts of CVST cases from each country were tallied, then expanded into a full dataset with 1 row for each individual and observation time period. There was a combined total of 201 incident CVST events in the cohorts (29.5 per million person years). There were 81 CVST events in the observation period among those who a received first dose of ChAdOx1 (approximately 16.34 per million doses) and 40 for those who received a first dose of BNT162b2 (approximately 12.60 per million doses). We fitted conditional Poisson models to estimate incidence rate ratios (IRRs). Vaccination with ChAdOx1 was associated with an elevated risk of incident CVST events in the 28 days following vaccination, IRR = 1.93 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.20 to 3.11). We did not find an association between BNT162b2 and CVST in the 28 days following vaccination, IRR = 0.78 (95% CI 0.34 to 1.77). Our study had some limitations. The SCCS study design implicitly controls for variables that are constant over the observation period, but also assumes that outcome events are independent of exposure. This assumption may not be satisfied in the case of CVST, firstly because it is a serious adverse event, and secondly because the vaccination programme in the United Kingdom prioritised the clinically extremely vulnerable and those with underlying health conditions, which may have caused a selection effect for individuals more prone to CVST. Although we pooled data from several large datasets, there was still a low number of events, which may have caused imprecision in our estimates. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we observed a small elevated risk of CVST events following vaccination with ChAdOx1, but not BNT162b2. Our analysis pooled information from large datasets from England, Scotland, and Wales. This evidence may be useful in risk-benefit analyses of vaccine policies and in providing quantification of risks associated with vaccination to the general public.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Sinus Thrombosis, Intracranial/etiology , Adult , Aged , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , Case-Control Studies , Cohort Studies , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , United Kingdom , Vaccination/statistics & numerical data , Wales
10.
BMC Public Health ; 22(1): 379, 2022 02 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1703342

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In many countries, including in the United Kingdom (UK), COVID-19 social distancing measures placed substantial restrictions on children's lives in 2020 and 2021, including closure of schools and limitations on play. Many children faced milestones such as transition to secondary school having missed several months of face-to-face schooling in the previous academic years. METHODS: This paper examines change in mental health difficulties, life satisfaction, school connectedness, and feelings about transition to secondary school among 10-11-year-olds in Wales, UK, using data from repeat cross-sectional surveys before and after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants were 4032 10-11-year-old schoolchildren. The first cohort completed a school-based survey in 2019 (prior to introduction of social distancing measures), and the second in 2021 (following full return to school after two rounds of school closure). RESULTS: The percentage of children reporting elevated emotional difficulties rose from 17% in 2019 to 27% in 2021 (Odds Ratio = 1.65; 95%CI = 1.23 to 2.20). There was no evidence of increased behavioural difficulties (OR = 1.04; 95%CI = 0.73 to 1.46). There was a tendency toward declines in life satisfaction in all analyses, but this intersected the null (OR = 0.86; 95%CI = 0.70 to 1.07). Children reported a high degree of school connectedness before and after the pandemic, with no evidence of change in ratings of teacher relationships, pupil relationships or pupil involvement in school life. There was no evidence of impacts of the pandemic on children's feelings about the transition to secondary school, with feelings becoming more positive as transition neared. Most findings were robust to a range of sensitivity analyses. CONCLUSIONS: Supporting children's emotional recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is a public health priority requiring urgent and effective action at multiple levels of society. Maintaining connectedness to school through the pandemic may have played a role in preventing a steeper increase in child mental health difficulties.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Child , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Mental Health , Pandemics/prevention & control , Personal Satisfaction , SARS-CoV-2 , Wales/epidemiology
11.
BMJ Open ; 12(2): e059437, 2022 02 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1691303

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To explore the impact of COVID-19 on postdiagnostic dementia care and support provision in England and Wales. DESIGN: Qualitative research using semistructured interviews, via video or telephone conferencing. SETTING: Services providing postdiagnostic support across health, social care and the third sector. PARTICIPANTS: 21 professionals previously recruited to an ongoing research programme on postdiagnostic dementia care (or colleagues, if unavailable). RESULTS: Key themes identified from the data were: challenges caused by COVID-19; responses to those challenges, including a widespread shift to remote working; and effects of COVID-19 on future postdiagnostic support. Challenges included changing and sometimes conflicting guidelines; a lack of access to support; identifying and responding to emerging needs; emotional and physical impact of COVID-19; and balancing COVID-19 risk with other risks such as deterioration. Some dementia services closed, while others adapted and continued to provide support thus potentially widening existing inequalities. There were also some unintended positive outcomes, including improved cross-sector and multidisciplinary working between professionals. CONCLUSION: Delivering postdiagnostic dementia support during COVID-19 required essential adaptations. While some changes were detrimental to service users, others were identified as potentially beneficial and highly likely to become the new 'norm', for example, use of blended approaches, combining virtual and face-to-face work, thus allowing more flexible, integrated care. Our data have implications for policy and practice to improve the response to the lingering effects of COVID-19 as well as creating service provision that is more resilient to future pandemics or other periods of disruption.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Dementia , Dementia/diagnosis , Dementia/epidemiology , England/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Qualitative Research , SARS-CoV-2 , Wales/epidemiology
12.
PLoS Med ; 19(2): e1003904, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1686090

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Deaths in the first year of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in England and Wales were unevenly distributed socioeconomically and geographically. However, the full scale of inequalities may have been underestimated to date, as most measures of excess mortality do not adequately account for varying age profiles of deaths between social groups. We measured years of life lost (YLL) attributable to the pandemic, directly or indirectly, comparing mortality across geographic and socioeconomic groups. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We used national mortality registers in England and Wales, from 27 December 2014 until 25 December 2020, covering 3,265,937 deaths. YLLs (main outcome) were calculated using 2019 single year sex-specific life tables for England and Wales. Interrupted time-series analyses, with panel time-series models, were used to estimate expected YLL by sex, geographical region, and deprivation quintile between 7 March 2020 and 25 December 2020 by cause: direct deaths (COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases), cardiovascular disease and diabetes, cancer, and other indirect deaths (all other causes). Excess YLL during the pandemic period were calculated by subtracting observed from expected values. Additional analyses focused on excess deaths for region and deprivation strata, by age-group. Between 7 March 2020 and 25 December 2020, there were an estimated 763,550 (95% CI: 696,826 to 830,273) excess YLL in England and Wales, equivalent to a 15% (95% CI: 14 to 16) increase in YLL compared to the equivalent time period in 2019. There was a strong deprivation gradient in all-cause excess YLL, with rates per 100,000 population ranging from 916 (95% CI: 820 to 1,012) for the least deprived quintile to 1,645 (95% CI: 1,472 to 1,819) for the most deprived. The differences in excess YLL between deprivation quintiles were greatest in younger age groups; for all-cause deaths, a mean of 9.1 years per death (95% CI: 8.2 to 10.0) were lost in the least deprived quintile, compared to 10.8 (95% CI: 10.0 to 11.6) in the most deprived; for COVID-19 and other respiratory deaths, a mean of 8.9 years per death (95% CI: 8.7 to 9.1) were lost in the least deprived quintile, compared to 11.2 (95% CI: 11.0 to 11.5) in the most deprived. For all-cause mortality, estimated deaths in the most deprived compared to the most affluent areas were much higher in younger age groups, but similar for those aged 85 or over. There was marked variability in both all-cause and direct excess YLL by region, with the highest rates in the North West. Limitations include the quasi-experimental nature of the research design and the requirement for accurate and timely recording. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we observed strong socioeconomic and geographical health inequalities in YLL, during the first calendar year of the COVID-19 pandemic. These were in line with long-standing existing inequalities in England and Wales, with the most deprived areas reporting the largest numbers in potential YLL.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , Adult , Aged , Cardiovascular Diseases/mortality , Cause of Death , Diabetes Mellitus/mortality , England/epidemiology , Female , Health Status Disparities , Humans , Interrupted Time Series Analysis , Life Expectancy , Male , Middle Aged , Neoplasms/mortality , Residence Characteristics , Respiratory Tract Diseases/mortality , Socioeconomic Factors , Wales/epidemiology
13.
PLoS One ; 17(1): e0262846, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1662440

ABSTRACT

In many countries of the world, COVID-19 pandemic has led to exceptional changes in mortality trends. Some studies have tried to quantify the effects of Covid-19 in terms of a reduction in life expectancy at birth in 2020. However, these estimates might need to be updated now that, in most countries, the mortality data for the whole year are available. We used data from the Human Mortality Database (HMD) Short-Term Mortality Fluctuations (STMF) data series to estimate life expectancy in 2020 for several countries. The changes estimated using these data and the appropriate methodology seem to be more pessimistic than those that have been proposed so far: life expectancy dropped in the Russia by 2.16 years, 1.85 in USA, and 1.27 in England and Wales. The differences among countries are substantial: many countries (e.g. Denmark, Island, Norway, New Zealand, South Korea) saw a rather limited drop in life expectancy or have even seen an increase in life expectancy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , Life Expectancy , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/virology , Child , Child, Preschool , Databases, Factual , Developed Countries , England/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Middle Aged , Mortality , New Zealand/epidemiology , Norway/epidemiology , Republic of Korea/epidemiology , Russia/epidemiology , United States/epidemiology , Wales/epidemiology , Young Adult
14.
BMJ Open ; 12(1): e053222, 2022 01 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1622058

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To understand the rationale, implementation and early impact of vertical integration between primary care medical practices and the organisations running acute hospitals in the National Health Service in England and Wales. DESIGN AND SETTING: A qualitative, cross-comparative case study evaluation at two sites in England and one in Wales, consisting of interviews with stakeholders at the sites, alongside observations of strategic meetings and analysis of key documents. RESULTS: We interviewed 52 stakeholders across the three sites in the second half of 2019 and observed four meetings from late 2019 to early 2020 (further observation was prevented by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic). The single most important driver of vertical integration was found to be to maintain primary care local to where patients live and thereby manage demand pressure on acute hospital services, especially emergency care. The opportunities created by maintaining local primary care providers-to develop patient services in primary care settings and better integrate them with secondary care-were exploited to differing degrees across the sites. There were notable differences between sites in operational and management arrangements, and in organisational and clinical integration. Closer organisational integration was attributed to previous good relationships between primary and secondary care locally, and to historical planning and preparation towards integrated working across the local health economy. The net impact of vertical integration on health system costs is argued by local stakeholders to be beneficial. CONCLUSIONS: Vertical integration is a valuable option when primary care practices are at risk of closing, and may be a route to better integration of patient care. But it is not the only route and vertical integration is not attractive to all primary care physicians. A future evaluation of vertical integration is intended; of patients' experience and of the impact on secondary care service utilisation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , State Medicine , England , Hospitals , Humans , Pandemics , Primary Health Care , SARS-CoV-2 , Wales
15.
Br Dent J ; 232(1): 44-54, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1621229

ABSTRACT

Introduction The COVID-19 pandemic has had a large impact on dentistry across Wales. Dentists were facing significant levels of psychological distress prior to the pandemic, so it was important to monitor dentists' mental health during this unprecedented challenge.Aims To gain both an understanding of the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has been having on the mental health of dentists working in Wales, as well as understanding the levels of stress the pandemic has caused. We also aimed to understand the specific causes of stress.Results High levels of stress were found, with 82% of respondents saying stress levels in the dental team have increased noticeably. Three-quarters of respondents have gone to work despite not feeling mentally well enough. Working conditions and financial pressures caused by the pandemic have directly impacted the mental health of many dentists. As a result, they have been using both adaptive and maladaptive coping methods to cope with the stress of the pandemic, with over one-third of respondents drinking alcohol more frequently than before the pandemic.Conclusions The pandemic has had a profound impact on the professional lives of dentists working in Wales. Their interactions with patients and colleagues have been greatly affected, as well as their work and working conditions. These have all substantially contributed to increased stress levels. Without significant improvements to the working conditions of dentists, as well as continued psychological support, large-scale burnout in the future is not only possible, but likely.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Dentists , Humans , Mental Health , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires , Wales/epidemiology
16.
Vaccine ; 40(8): 1180-1189, 2022 02 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1621088

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: While population estimates suggest high vaccine effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 infection, the protection for health care workers, who are at higher risk of SARS-CoV-2 exposure, is less understood. METHODS: We conducted a national cohort study of health care workers in Wales (UK) from 7 December 2020 to 30 September 2021. We examined uptake of any COVID-19 vaccine, and the effectiveness of BNT162b2 mRNA (Pfizer-BioNTech) against polymerase chain reaction (PCR) confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. We used linked and routinely collected national-scale data within the SAIL Databank. Data were available on 82,959 health care workers in Wales, with exposure extending to 26 weeks after second doses. RESULTS: Overall vaccine uptake was high (90%), with most health care workers receiving theBNT162b2 vaccine (79%). Vaccine uptake differed by age, staff role, socioeconomic status; those aged 50-59 and 60+ years old were 1.6 times more likely to get vaccinated than those aged 16-29. Medical and dental staff, and Allied Health Practitioners were 1.5 and 1.1 times more likely to get vaccinated, compared to nursing and midwifery staff. The effectiveness of the BNT162b2 vaccine was found to be strong and consistent across the characteristics considered; 52% three to six weeks after first dose, 86% from two weeks after second dose, though this declined to 53% from 22 weeks after the second dose. CONCLUSIONS: With some variation in rate of uptake, those who were vaccinated had a reduced risk of PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, compared to those unvaccinated. Second dose has provided stronger protection for longer than first dose but our study is consistent with waning from seven weeks onwards.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Adolescent , Adult , Cohort Studies , Health Personnel , Humans , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Wales/epidemiology , Young Adult
19.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(49)2021 12 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1556254

ABSTRACT

We hypothesized that cross-protection from seasonal epidemics of human coronaviruses (HCoVs) could have affected severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission, including generating reduced susceptibility in children. To determine what the prepandemic distribution of immunity to HCoVs was, we fitted a mathematical model to 6 y of seasonal coronavirus surveillance data from England and Wales. We estimated a duration of immunity to seasonal HCoVs of 7.8 y (95% CI 6.3 to 8.1) and show that, while cross-protection between HCoV and SARS-CoV-2 may contribute to the age distribution, it is insufficient to explain the age pattern of SARS-CoV-2 infections in the first wave of the pandemic in England and Wales. Projections from our model illustrate how different strengths of cross-protection between circulating coronaviruses could determine the frequency and magnitude of SARS-CoV-2 epidemics over the coming decade, as well as the potential impact of cross-protection on future seasonal coronavirus transmission.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Age Factors , Basic Reproduction Number , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/transmission , Coronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Cross Protection , England/epidemiology , Forecasting , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Seasons , Wales/epidemiology
20.
PLoS One ; 16(12): e0260396, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1546954

ABSTRACT

School closures due to the COVID-19 global pandemic are likely to have a range of negative consequences spanning the domains of child development, education and health, in addition to the widening of inequalities and inequities. Research is required to improve understanding of the impact of school closures on the education, health and wellbeing of pupils and school staff, the challenges posed during face-to-face reopening and importantly to identify how the impacts of these challenges can be addressed going forward to inform emerging policy and practice. This qualitative study aimed to reflect on the perspectives and experiences of primary school staff (pupils aged 3-11) in Wales regarding school closures and the initial face-to-face reopening of schools and to identify recommendations for the future. A total of 208 school staff completed a national online survey through the HAPPEN primary school network, consisting of questions about school closures (March to June 2020), the phased face-to-face reopening of schools (June to July 2020) and a return to face-to-face education. Thematic analysis of survey responses highlighted that primary school staff perceive that gaps in learning, health and wellbeing have increased and inequalities have widened during school closures. Findings from this study identified five recommendations; (i) prioritise the health and wellbeing of pupils and staff; (ii) focus on enabling parental engagement and support; (iii) improve digital competence amongst pupils, teachers and parents; (iv) consider opportunities for smaller class sizes and additional staffing; and (v) improve the mechanism of communication between schools and families, and between government and schools.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control/methods , School Teachers/psychology , Schools , Child , Child, Preschool , Communicable Disease Control/trends , Communication , Education, Distance , Forecasting , Humans , Qualitative Research , School Teachers/statistics & numerical data , Surveys and Questionnaires , Wales
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