30 results found
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, countries have sought to control SARS-CoV-2 transmission by restricting population movement through social distancing interventions, thus reducing the number of contacts.Mobility data represent an important proxy measure of social distancing, and here, we characterise the relationship between transmission and mobility for 52 countries around the world.Transmission significantly decreased with the initial reduction in mobility in 73% of the countries analysed, but we found evidence of decoupling of transmission and mobility following the relaxation of strict control measures for 80% of countries. For the majority of countries, mobility explained a substantial proportion of the variation in transmissibility (median adjusted R-squared: 48%, interquartile range - IQR - across countries [27-77%]). Where a change in the relationship occurred, predictive ability decreased after the relaxation; from a median adjusted R-squared of 74% (IQR across countries [49-91%]) pre-relaxation, to a median adjusted R-squared of 30% (IQR across countries [12-48%]) post-relaxation.In countries with a clear relationship between mobility and transmission both before and after strict control measures were relaxed, mobility was associated with lower transmission rates after control measures were relaxed indicating that the beneficial effects of ongoing social distancing behaviours were substantial.
Vollmer MAC, Glampson B, Mellan TA, et al., 2021, A unified machine learning approach to time series forecasting applied to demand at emergency departments, BMC Emergency Medicine, Vol: 21, Pages: 1-14, ISSN: 1471-227X
There were 25.6 million attendances at Emergency Departments (EDs) in Englandin 2019 corresponding to an increase of 12 million attendances over the pastten years. The steadily rising demand at EDs creates a constant challenge toprovide adequate quality of care while maintaining standards and productivity.Managing hospital demand effectively requires an adequate knowledge of thefuture rate of admission. Using 8 years of electronic admissions data from twomajor acute care hospitals in London, we develop a novel ensemble methodologythat combines the outcomes of the best performing time series and machinelearning approaches in order to make highly accurate forecasts of demand, 1, 3and 7 days in the future. Both hospitals face an average daily demand of 208and 106 attendances respectively and experience considerable volatility aroundthis mean. However, our approach is able to predict attendances at theseemergency departments one day in advance up to a mean absolute error of +/- 14and +/- 10 patients corresponding to a mean absolute percentage error of 6.8%and 8.6% respectively. Our analysis compares machine learning algorithms tomore traditional linear models. We find that linear models often outperformmachine learning methods and that the quality of our predictions for any of theforecasting horizons of 1, 3 or 7 days are comparable as measured in MAE. Inaddition to comparing and combining state-of-the-art forecasting methods topredict hospital demand, we consider two different hyperparameter tuningmethods, enabling a faster deployment of our models without compromisingperformance. We believe our framework can readily be used to forecast a widerange of policy relevant indicators.
Fu H, Wang H, Xi X, et al., 2021, A database for the epidemic trends and control measures during the first wave of COVID-19 in mainland China, International Journal of Infectious Diseases, Vol: 102, Pages: 463-471, ISSN: 1201-9712
Objectives: This data collation effort aims to provide a comprehensive database to describe the epidemic trends and responses during the first wave of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)across main provinces in China. Methods: From mid-January to March 2020, we extracted publicly available data on the spread and control of COVID-19 from 31 provincial health authorities and major media outlets in mainland China. Based on these data, we conducted a descriptive analysis of the epidemics in the six most-affected provinces. Results: School closures, travel restrictions, community-level lockdown, and contact tracing were introduced concurrently around late January but subsequent epidemic trends were different across provinces. Compared to Hubei, the other five most-affected provinces reported a lower crude case fatality ratio and proportion of critical and severe hospitalised cases. From March 2020, as local transmission of COVID-19 declined, switching the focus of measures to testing and quarantine of inbound travellers could help to sustain the control of the epidemic. Conclusions: Aggregated indicators of case notifications and severity distributions are essential for monitoring an epidemic. A publicly available database with these indicators and information on control measures provides useful source for exploring further research and policy planning for response to the COVID-19 epidemic.
Unwin H, Mishra S, Bradley V, et al., 2020, State-level tracking of COVID-19 in the United States, Nature Communications, Vol: 11, Pages: 1-9, ISSN: 2041-1723
As of 1st June 2020, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 104,232 confirmed or probable COVID-19-related deaths in the US. This was more than twice the number of deaths reported in the next most severely impacted country. We jointly model the US epidemic at the state-level, using publicly available deathdata within a Bayesian hierarchical semi-mechanistic framework. For each state, we estimate the number of individuals that have been infected, the number of individuals that are currently infectious and the time-varying reproduction number (the average number of secondary infections caused by an infected person). We use changes in mobility to capture the impact that non-pharmaceutical interventions and other behaviour changes have on therate of transmission of SARS-CoV-2. We estimate thatRtwas only below one in 23 states on 1st June. We also estimate that 3.7% [3.4%-4.0%] of the total population of the US had been infected, with wide variation between states, and approximately 0.01% of the population was infectious. We demonstrate good 3 week model forecasts of deaths with low error and good coverage of our credible intervals.
Grassly NC, Pons-Salort M, Parker EPK, et al., 2020, Comparison of molecular testing strategies for COVID-19 control: a mathematical modelling study, Lancet Infectious Diseases, Vol: 20, Pages: 1381-1389, ISSN: 1473-3099
BACKGROUND: WHO has called for increased testing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but countries have taken different approaches and the effectiveness of alternative strategies is unknown. We aimed to investigate the potential impact of different testing and isolation strategies on transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). METHODS: We developed a mathematical model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission based on infectiousness and PCR test sensitivity over time since infection. We estimated the reduction in the effective reproduction number (R) achieved by testing and isolating symptomatic individuals, regular screening of high-risk groups irrespective of symptoms, and quarantine of contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases identified through test-and-trace protocols. The expected effectiveness of different testing strategies was defined as the percentage reduction in R. We reviewed data on the performance of antibody tests reported by the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics and examined their implications for the use of so-called immunity passports. FINDINGS: If all individuals with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 self-isolated and self-isolation was 100% effective in reducing onwards transmission, self-isolation of symptomatic individuals would result in a reduction in R of 47% (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 32-55). PCR testing to identify SARS-CoV-2 infection soon after symptom onset could reduce the number of individuals needing to self-isolate, but would also reduce the effectiveness of self-isolation (around 10% would be false negatives). Weekly screening of health-care workers and other high-risk groups irrespective of symptoms by use of PCR testing is estimated to reduce their contribution to SARS-CoV-2 transmission by 23% (95% UI 16-40), on top of reductions achieved by self-isolation following symptoms, assuming results are available at 24 h. The effectiveness of test and trace depends strongly on coverage and the timelines
Thompson H, Imai N, Dighe A, et al., 2020, SARS-CoV-2 infection prevalence on repatriation flights from Wuhan City, China, Journal of Travel Medicine, Vol: 27, Pages: 1-3, ISSN: 1195-1982
We estimated SARS-CoV-2 infection prevalence in cohorts of repatriated citizens from Wuhan to be 0.44% (95% CI: 0.19%–1.03%). Although not representative of the wider population we believe these estimates are helpful in providing a conservative estimate of infection prevalence in Wuhan City, China, in the absence of large-scale population testing early in the epidemic.
Dighe A, Cattarino L, Cuomo-Dannenburg G, et al., 2020, Response to COVID-19 in South Korea and implications for lifting stringent interventions, BMC Medicine, Vol: 18, Pages: 1-12, ISSN: 1741-7015
Background After experiencing a sharp growth in COVID-19 cases early in the pandemic, South Korea rapidly controlled transmission while implementing less stringent national social distancing measures than countries in Europe and the US. This has led to substantial interest in their “test, trace, isolate” strategy. However, it is important to understand the epidemiological peculiarities of South Korea’s outbreak and characterise their response before attempting to emulate these measures elsewhere.MethodsWe systematically extracted numbers of suspected cases tested, PCR-confirmed cases, deaths, isolated confirmed cases, and numbers of confirmed cases with an identified epidemiological link from publicly available data. We estimated the time-varying reproduction number, Rt, using an established Bayesian framework, and reviewed the package of interventions implemented by South Korea using our extracted data, plus published literature and government sources. Results We estimated that after the initial rapid growth in cases, Rt dropped below one in early April before increasing to a maximum of 1.94 (95%CrI; 1.64-2.27) in May following outbreaks in Seoul Metropolitan Region. By mid-June Rt was back below one where it remained until the end of our study (July 13th). Despite less stringent “lockdown” measures, strong social distancing measures were implemented in high incidence areas and studies measured a considerable national decrease in movement in late-February. Testing capacity was swiftly increased, and protocols were in place to isolate suspected and confirmed cases quickly however we could not estimate the delay to isolation using our data. Accounting for just 10% of cases, individual case-based contact-tracing picked up a relatively minor proportion of total cases, with cluster investigations accounting for 66%. ConclusionsWhilst early adoption of testing and contact-tracing are likely to be important for South Korea’s successf
Hogan A, Winskill P, Watson O, et al., 2020, Report 33: Modelling the allocation and impact of a COVID-19 vaccine
Several SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidates are now in late-stage trials, with efficacy and safety results expected by the end of 2020. Even under optimistic scenarios for manufacture and delivery, the doses available in 2021 are likely to be limited. Here we identify optimal vaccine allocation strategies within and between countries to maximise health (avert deaths) under constraints on dose supply. We extended an existing mathematical model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission across different country settings to model the public health impact of potential vaccines, using a range of target product profiles developed by the World Health Organization. We show that as supply increases, vaccines that reduce or block infection – and thus transmission – in addition to preventing disease have a greater impact than those that prevent disease alone, due to the indirect protection provided to high-risk groups. We further demonstrate that the health impact of vaccination will depend on the cumulative infection incidence in the population when vaccination begins, the duration of any naturally acquired immunity, the likely trajectory of the epidemic in 2021 and the level of healthcare available to effectively treat those with disease. Within a country, we find that for a limited supply (doses for <20% of the population) the optimal strategy is to target the elderly and other high-risk groups. However, if a larger supply is available, the optimal strategy switches to targeting key transmitters (i.e. the working age population and potentially children) to indirectly protect the elderly and vulnerable. Given the likely global dose supply in 2021 (2 billion doses with a two-dose vaccine), we find that a strategy in which doses are allocated to countries in proportion to their population size is close to optimal in averting deaths. Such a strategy also aligns with the ethical principles agreed in pandemic preparedness planning.
Monod M, Blenkinsop A, Xi X, et al., 2020, Report 32: Targeting interventions to age groups that sustain COVID-19 transmission in the United States, Pages: 1-32
Following inial declines, in mid 2020, a resurgence in transmission of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has occurred in the United States and parts of Europe. Despite the wide implementaon of non-pharmaceucal inter-venons, it is sll not known how they are impacted by changing contact paerns, age and other demographics. As COVID-19 disease control becomes more localised, understanding the age demographics driving transmission and how these impact the loosening of intervenons such as school reopening is crucial. Considering dynamics for the United States, we analyse aggregated, age-speciﬁc mobility trends from more than 10 million individuals and link these mechaniscally to age-speciﬁc COVID-19 mortality data. In contrast to previous approaches, we link mobility to mortality via age speciﬁc contact paerns and use this rich relaonship to reconstruct accurate trans-mission dynamics. Contrary to anecdotal evidence, we ﬁnd lile support for age-shis in contact and transmission dynamics over me. We esmate that, unl August, 63.4% [60.9%-65.5%] of SARS-CoV-2 infecons in the United States originated from adults aged 20-49, while 1.2% [0.8%-1.8%] originated from children aged 0-9. In areas with connued, community-wide transmission, our transmission model predicts that re-opening kindergartens and el-ementary schools could facilitate spread and lead to considerable excess COVID-19 aributable deaths over a 90-day period. These ﬁndings indicate that targeng intervenons to adults aged 20-49 are an important con-sideraon in halng resurgent epidemics, and prevenng COVID-19-aributable deaths when kindergartens and elementary schools reopen.
van Elsland S, Watson O, Alhaffar M, et al., 2020, Report 31: Estimating the burden of COVID-19 in Damascus, Syria: an analysis of novel data sources to infer mortality under-ascertainment
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in substantial mortality worldwide. However, to date, countries in the Middle East and Africa have reported substantially lower mortality rates than in Europe and the Americas. One hypothesis is that these countries have been ‘spared’, but another is that deaths have been under-ascertained (deaths that have been unreported due to any number of reasons, for instance due to limited testing capacity). However, the scale of under-ascertainment is difficult to assess with currently available data. In this analysis, we estimate the potential under-ascertainment of COVID-19 mortality in Damascus, Syria, where all-cause mortality data has been reported between 25th July and 1st August. We fit a mathematical model of COVID-19 transmission to reported COVID-19 deaths in Damascus since the beginning of the pandemic and compare the model-predicted deaths to reported excess deaths. Exploring a range of different assumptions about under-ascertainment, we estimate that only 1.25% of deaths (sensitivity range 1% - 3%) due to COVID-19 are reported in Damascus. Accounting for under-ascertainment also corroborates local reports of exceeded hospital bed capacity. To validate the epidemic dynamics inferred, we leverage community-uploaded obituary certificates as an alternative data source, which confirms extensive mortality under-ascertainment in Damascus between July and August. This level of under-ascertainment suggests that Damascus is at a much later stage in its epidemic than suggested by surveillance reports, which have repo. We estimate that 4,340 (95% CI: 3,250 - 5,540) deaths due to COVID-19 in Damascus may have been missed as of 2nd September 2020. Given that Damascus is likely to have the most robust surveillance in Syria, these findings suggest that other regions of the country could have experienced similar or worse mortality rates due to COVID-19.
Hogan A, Jewell B, Sherrard-Smith E, et al., 2020, Potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on HIV, TB and malaria in low- and middle-income countries: a modelling study, The Lancet Global Health, Vol: 8, Pages: e1132-e1141, ISSN: 2214-109X
Background: COVID-19 has the potential to cause substantial disruptions to health services, including by cases overburdening the health system or response measures limiting usual programmatic activities. We aimed to quantify the extent to which disruptions in services for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), tuberculosis (TB) and malaria in low- and middle-income countries with high burdens of those disease could lead to additional loss of life. Methods: We constructed plausible scenarios for the disruptions that could be incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic and used established transmission models for each disease to estimate the additional impact on health that could be caused in selected settings.Findings: In high burden settings, HIV-, TB- and malaria-related deaths over five years may increase by up to 10%, 20% and 36%, respectively, compared to if there were no COVID-19 pandemic. We estimate the greatest impact on HIV to be from interruption to antiretroviral therapy, which may occur during a period of high health system demand. For TB, we estimate the greatest impact is from reductions in timely diagnosis and treatment of new cases, which may result from any prolonged period of COVID-19 suppression interventions. We estimate that the greatest impact on malaria burden could come from interruption of planned net campaigns. These disruptions could lead to loss of life-years over five years that is of the same order of magnitude as the direct impact from COVID-19 in places with a high burden of malaria and large HIV/TB epidemics.Interpretation: Maintaining the most critical prevention activities and healthcare services for HIV, TB and malaria could significantly reduce the overall impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.Funding: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Wellcome Trust, DFID, MRC
Lavezzo E, Franchin E, Ciavarella C, et al., 2020, Suppression of a SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in the Italian municipality of Vo', Nature, Vol: 584, Pages: 425-429, ISSN: 0028-0836
On the 21st of February 2020 a resident of the municipality of Vo', a small town near Padua, died of pneumonia due to SARS-CoV-2 infection1. This was the first COVID-19 death detected in Italy since the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 in the Chinese city of Wuhan, Hubei province2. In response, the regional authorities imposed the lockdown of the whole municipality for 14 days3. We collected information on the demography, clinical presentation, hospitalization, contact network and presence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in nasopharyngeal swabs for 85.9% and 71.5% of the population of Vo' at two consecutive time points. On the first survey, which was conducted around the time the town lockdown started, we found a prevalence of infection of 2.6% (95% confidence interval (CI) 2.1-3.3%). On the second survey, which was conducted at the end of the lockdown, we found a prevalence of 1.2% (95% Confidence Interval (CI) 0.8-1.8%). Notably, 42.5% (95% CI 31.5-54.6%) of the confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections detected across the two surveys were asymptomatic (i.e. did not have symptoms at the time of swab testing and did not develop symptoms afterwards). The mean serial interval was 7.2 days (95% CI 5.9-9.6). We found no statistically significant difference in the viral load of symptomatic versus asymptomatic infections (p-values 0.62 and 0.74 for E and RdRp genes, respectively, Exact Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test). This study sheds new light on the frequency of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection, their infectivity (as measured by the viral load) and provides new insights into its transmission dynamics and the efficacy of the implemented control measures.
Flaxman S, Mishra S, Gandy A, et al., 2020, Estimating the effects of non-pharmaceutical interventions on COVID-19 in Europe, Nature, Vol: 584, Pages: 257-261, ISSN: 0028-0836
Following the emergence of a novel coronavirus1 (SARS-CoV-2) and its spread outside of China, Europe has experienced large epidemics. In response, many European countries have implemented unprecedented non-pharmaceutical interventions such as closure of schools and national lockdowns. We study the impact of major interventions across 11 European countries for the period from the start of COVID-19 until the 4th of May 2020 when lockdowns started to be lifted. Our model calculates backwards from observed deaths to estimate transmission that occurred several weeks prior, allowing for the time lag between infection and death. We use partial pooling of information between countries with both individual and shared effects on the reproduction number. Pooling allows more information to be used, helps overcome data idiosyncrasies, and enables more timely estimates. Our model relies on fixed estimates of some epidemiological parameters such as the infection fatality rate, does not include importation or subnational variation and assumes that changes in the reproduction number are an immediate response to interventions rather than gradual changes in behavior. Amidst the ongoing pandemic, we rely on death data that is incomplete, with systematic biases in reporting, and subject to future consolidation. We estimate that, for all the countries we consider, current interventions have been sufficient to drive the reproduction number Rt below 1 (probability Rt< 1.0 is 99.9%) and achieve epidemic control. We estimate that, across all 11 countries, between 12 and 15 million individuals have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 up to 4th May, representing between 3.2% and 4.0% of the population. Our results show that major non-pharmaceutical interventions and lockdown in particular have had a large effect on reducing transmission. Continued intervention should be considered to keep transmission of SARS-CoV-2 under control.
Perez Guzman PN, Daunt A, Mukherjee S, et al., 2020, Clinical characteristics and predictors of outcomes of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in a multi-ethnic London NHS Trust: a retrospective cohort study, Clinical Infectious Diseases, Vol: 2020, Pages: 1-11, ISSN: 1058-4838
Background: Emerging evidence suggests ethnic minorities are disproportionatelyaffected by COVID-19. Detailed clinical analyses of multi-cultural hospitalized patientcohorts remain largely undescribed.Methods: We performed regression, survival andcumulative competing risk analyses to evaluate factors associated with mortality inpatients admitted for COVID-19 in three large London hospitals between February 25and April 5, censored as of May 1, 2020.Results: Of 614 patients (median age 69years, (IQR 25) and 62% male), 381 (62%) had been discharged alive, 178 (29%)died and 55 (9%) remained hospitalized at censoring. Severe hypoxemia (aOR 4.25,95%CI 2.36-7.64), leukocytosis (aOR 2.35, 95%CI 1.35-4.11), thrombocytopenia (aOR1.01, 95%CI 1.00-1.01, increase per 10x9decrease), severe renal impairment (aOR5.14, 95%CI 2.65-9.97), and low albumin (aOR 1.06, 95%CI 1.02-1.09, increase per gdecrease) were associated with death. Forty percent (244) were from black, Asian andother minority ethnic (BAME) groups, 38% (235) white and for 22% (135) ethnicity wasunknown. BAME patients were younger and had fewer comorbidities. Whilst theunadjusted odds of death did not differ by ethnicity, when adjusting for age, sex andcomorbidities, black patients were at higher odds of death compared to whites (aOR1.69, 95%CI 1.00-2.86). This association was stronger when further adjusting foradmission severity (aOR 1.85 95% CI 1.06-3.24). Conclusions: BAME patients were over-represented in our cohort and, whenaccounting for demographic and clinical profile of admission, black patients were atincreased odds of death. Further research is needed into biologic drivers of differencesin COVID-19 outcomes by ethnicity.
Fu H, Xi X, Wang H, et al., 2020, Report 30: The COVID-19 epidemic trends and control measures in mainland China
Vollmer M, Radhakrishnan S, Kont M, et al., 2020, Report 29: The impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on all-cause attendances to emergency departments in two large London hospitals: an observational study
The health care system in England has been highly affected by the surge in demand due to patients afflicted by COVID-19. Yet the impact of the pandemic on the care seeking behaviour of patients and thus on Emergency department (ED) services is unknown, especially for non-COVID-19 related emergencies. In this report, we aimed to assess how the reorganisation of hospital care and admission policies to respond to the COVID-19 epidemic affected ED attendances and emergency hospital admissions. We performed time-series analyses of present year vs historic (2015-2019) trends of ED attendances between March 12 and May 31 at two large central London hospitals part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (ICHNT) and compared these to regional and national trends. Historic attendances data to ICHNT and publicly available NHS situation reports were used to calibrate time series auto-regressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) forecasting models. We thus predicted the (conterfactual) expected number of ED attendances between March 12 (when the first public health measure leading to lock-down started in England) to May 31, 2020 (when the analysis was censored) at ICHNT, at all acute London Trusts and nationally. The forecasted trends were compared to observed data for the same periods of time. Lastly, we analysed the trends at ICHNT disaggregating by mode of arrival, distance from postcode of patient residence to hospital and primary diagnosis amongst those that were subsequently admitted to hospital and compared these data to an average for the same period of time in the years 2015 to 2019.During the study period (January 1 to May 31, 2020) there was an overall decrease in ED attendances of 35% at ICHNT, of 50% across all London NHS Trusts and 53% nationally. For ICHNT, the decrease in attendances was mainly amongst those aged younger than 65 and those arriving by their own means (e.g. personal or public transport). Increasing distance (km) from postcode of residence to hospi
Walker PGT, Whittaker C, Watson OJ, et al., 2020, The impact of COVID-19 and strategies for mitigation and suppression in low- and middle-income countries, Science, Vol: 369, Pages: 413-422, ISSN: 0036-8075
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic poses a severe threat to public health worldwide. We combine data on demography, contact patterns, disease severity, and health care capacity and quality to understand its impact and inform strategies for its control. Younger populations in lower income countries may reduce overall risk but limited health system capacity coupled with closer inter-generational contact largely negates this benefit. Mitigation strategies that slow but do not interrupt transmission will still lead to COVID-19 epidemics rapidly overwhelming health systems, with substantial excess deaths in lower income countries due to the poorer health care available. Of countries that have undertaken suppression to date, lower income countries have acted earlier. However, this will need to be maintained or triggered more frequently in these settings to keep below available health capacity, with associated detrimental consequences for the wider health, well-being and economies of these countries.
Nouvellet P, Bhatia S, Cori A, et al., 2020, Report 26: Reduction in mobility and COVID-19 transmission
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, countries have sought to control transmission of SARS-CoV-2by restricting population movement through social distancing interventions, reducing the number ofcontacts.Mobility data represent an important proxy measure of social distancing. Here, we develop aframework to infer the relationship between mobility and the key measure of population-level diseasetransmission, the reproduction number (R). The framework is applied to 53 countries with sustainedSARS-CoV-2 transmission based on two distinct country-specific automated measures of humanmobility, Apple and Google mobility data.For both datasets, the relationship between mobility and transmission was consistent within andacross countries and explained more than 85% of the variance in the observed variation intransmissibility. We quantified country-specific mobility thresholds defined as the reduction inmobility necessary to expect a decline in new infections (R<1).While social contacts were sufficiently reduced in France, Spain and the United Kingdom to controlCOVID-19 as of the 10th of May, we find that enhanced control measures are still warranted for themajority of countries. We found encouraging early evidence of some decoupling of transmission andmobility in 10 countries, a key indicator of successful easing of social-distancing restrictions.Easing social-distancing restrictions should be considered very carefully, as small increases in contactrates are likely to risk resurgence even where COVID-19 is apparently under control. Overall, strongpopulation-wide social-distancing measures are effective to control COVID-19; however gradualeasing of restrictions must be accompanied by alternative interventions, such as efficient contacttracing, to ensure control.
Jeffrey B, Walters C, Ainslie K, et al., 2020, Report 24: Mobility data from mobile phones suggests that initial compliance with COVID-19 social distancing interventions was high and geographically consistent across the UK, 24
Since early March 2020, the COVID-19 epidemic across the United Kingdom has led to a range of socialdistancing policies, which have resulted in reduced mobility across different regions. Crowd level dataon mobile phone usage can be used as a proxy for actual population mobility patterns and provide away of quantifying the impact of social distancing measures on changes in mobility. Here, we use twomobile phone-based datasets (anonymised and aggregated crowd level data from O2 and from theFacebook app on mobile phones) to assess changes in average mobility, both overall and broken downinto high and low population density areas, and changes in the distribution of journey lengths. Weshow that there was a substantial overall reduction in mobility with the most rapid decline on the 24thMarch 2020, the day after the Prime Minister’s announcement of an enforced lockdown. Thereduction in mobility was highly synchronized across the UK. Although mobility has remained low since26th March 2020, we detect a gradual increase since that time. We also show that the two differentdatasets produce similar trends, albeit with some location-specific differences. We see slightly largerreductions in average mobility in high-density areas than in low-density areas, with greater variationin mobility in the high-density areas: some high-density areas eliminated almost all mobility. We areonly able to observe populations living in locations where sufficient number of people use Facebookor a device connected to the relevant provider’s network such that no individual is identifiable. Theseanalyses form a baseline with which to monitor changes in behaviour in the UK as social distancing iseased.
Mellan T, Hoeltgebaum H, Mishra S, et al., 2020, Report 21: Estimating COVID-19 cases and reproduction number in Brazil
Brazil is an epicentre for COVID-19 in Latin America. In this report we describe the Brazilian epidemicusing three epidemiological measures: the number of infections, the number of deaths and the reproduction number. Our modelling framework requires sufficient death data to estimate trends, and wetherefore limit our analysis to 16 states that have experienced a total of more than fifty deaths. Thedistribution of deaths among states is highly heterogeneous, with 5 states—São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro,Ceará, Pernambuco and Amazonas—accounting for 81% of deaths reported to date. In these states, weestimate that the percentage of people that have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 ranges from 3.3% (95%CI: 2.8%-3.7%) in São Paulo to 10.6% (95% CI: 8.8%-12.1%) in Amazonas. The reproduction number (ameasure of transmission intensity) at the start of the epidemic meant that an infected individual wouldinfect three or four others on average. Following non-pharmaceutical interventions such as school closures and decreases in population mobility, we show that the reproduction number has dropped substantially in each state. However, for all 16 states we study, we estimate with high confidence that thereproduction number remains above 1. A reproduction number above 1 means that the epidemic isnot yet controlled and will continue to grow. These trends are in stark contrast to other major COVID19 epidemics in Europe and Asia where enforced lockdowns have successfully driven the reproductionnumber below 1. While the Brazilian epidemic is still relatively nascent on a national scale, our resultssuggest that further action is needed to limit spread and prevent health system overload.
Vollmer M, Mishra S, Unwin H, et al., 2020, Report 20: A sub-national analysis of the rate of transmission of Covid-19 in Italy
Italy was the first European country to experience sustained local transmission of COVID-19. As of 1st May 2020, the Italian health authorities reported 28; 238 deaths nationally. To control the epidemic, the Italian government implemented a suite of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), including school and university closures, social distancing and full lockdown involving banning of public gatherings and non essential movement. In this report, we model the effect of NPIs on transmission using data on average mobility. We estimate that the average reproduction number (a measure of transmission intensity) is currently below one for all Italian regions, and significantly so for the majority of the regions. Despite the large number of deaths, the proportion of population that has been infected by SARS-CoV-2 (the attack rate) is far from the herd immunity threshold in all Italian regions, with the highest attack rate observed in Lombardy (13.18% [10.66%-16.70%]). Italy is set to relax the currently implemented NPIs from 4th May 2020. Given the control achieved by NPIs, we consider three scenarios for the next 8 weeks: a scenario in which mobility remains the same as during the lockdown, a scenario in which mobility returns to pre-lockdown levels by 20%, and a scenario in which mobility returns to pre-lockdown levels by 40%. The scenarios explored assume that mobility is scaled evenly across all dimensions, that behaviour stays the same as before NPIs were implemented, that no pharmaceutical interventions are introduced, and it does not include transmission reduction from contact tracing, testing and the isolation of confirmed or suspected cases. We find that, in the absence of additional interventions, even a 20% return to pre-lockdown mobility could lead to a resurgence in the number of deaths far greater than experienced in the current wave in several regions. Future increases in the number of deaths will lag behind the increase in transmission intensity and so a
Perez Guzman PN, Daunt A, Mukherjee S, et al., 2020, Report 17: Clinical characteristics and predictors of outcomes of hospitalised patients with COVID-19 in a London NHS Trust: a retrospective cohort study
Clinical characteristics and determinants of outcomes for hospitalised COVID-19 patients in the UK remain largely undescribed and emerging evidence suggests ethnic minorities might be disproportionately affected. We describe the characteristics and outcomes of patients hospitalised for COVID-19 in three large London hospitals with a multi-ethnic catchment population.We performed a retrospective cohort study on all patients hospitalised with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust between February 25 and April 5, 2020. Outcomes were recorded as of April 19, 2020. Logistic regression models, survival analyses and cumulative competing risk analyses were performed to evaluate factors associated with COVID-19 hospital mortality.Of 520 patients in this cohort (median age 67 years, (IQR 26) and 62% male), 302 (68%) had been discharged alive, 144 (32%) died and 74 (14%) were still hospitalised at the time of censoring. Increasing age (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 2·16, 95%CI 1·50-3·12), severe hypoxia (aOR 3·75, 95%CI 1·80-7·80), low platelets (aOR 0·65, 95%CI 0.49·0·85), reduced estimated glomerular filtration rate (aOR 4·11, 95%CI 1·58-10·69), bilirubin >21mmol/L (aOR 2·32, 95%CI 1·05-5·14) and low albumin (aOR 0·77, 9%%CI 0·59-1·01) were associated with increased risk of in-hospital mortality. Individual comorbidities were not independently associated with risk of death. Regarding ethnicity, 209 (40%) were from a black and Asian minority, for 115 (22%) ethnicity was unknown and 196 (38%) patients were white. Compared to the latter, black patients were significantly younger and had less comorbidities. Whilst the crude OR of death of black compared to white patients was not significant (1·14, 95%CI 0·69-1·88, p=0.62), adjusting for age and comorbidity showed a trend towards significance
Ainslie KEC, Walters CE, Fu H, et al., 2020, Evidence of initial success for China exiting COVID-19 social distancing policy after achieving containment [version 1; peer review: 2 approved], Wellcome Open Res, Vol: 5, ISSN: 2398-502X
Background: The COVID-19 epidemic was declared a Global Pandemic by WHO on 11 March 2020. By 24 March 2020, over 440,000 cases and almost 20,000 deaths had been reported worldwide. In response to the fast-growing epidemic, which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan, Hubei, China imposed strict social distancing in Wuhan on 23 January 2020 followed closely by similar measures in other provinces. These interventions have impacted economic productivity in China, and the ability of the Chinese economy to resume without restarting the epidemic was not clear. Methods: Using daily reported cases from mainland China and Hong Kong SAR, we estimated transmissibility over time and compared it to daily within-city movement, as a proxy for economic activity. Results: Initially, within-city movement and transmission were very strongly correlated in the five mainland provinces most affected by the epidemic and Beijing. However, that correlation decreased rapidly after the initial sharp fall in transmissibility. In general, towards the end of the study period, the correlation was no longer apparent, despite substantial increases in within-city movement. A similar analysis for Hong Kong shows that intermediate levels of local activity were maintained while avoiding a large outbreak. At the very end of the study period, when China began to experience the re-introduction of a small number of cases from Europe and the United States, there is an apparent up-tick in transmission. Conclusions: Although these results do not preclude future substantial increases in incidence, they suggest that after very intense social distancing (which resulted in containment), China successfully exited its lockdown to some degree. Elsewhere, movement data are being used as proxies for economic activity to assess the impact of interventions. The results presented here illustrate how the eventual decorrelation between transmission and movement is likely a key feature of successful COVID-19 exit strategies.
The World Health Organization has called for increased molecular testing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but different countries have taken very different approaches. We used a simple mathematical model to investigate the potential effectiveness of alternative testing strategies for COVID-19 control. Weekly screening of healthcare workers (HCWs) and other at-risk groups using PCR or point-of-care tests for infection irrespective of symptoms is estimated to reduce their contribution to transmission by 25-33%, on top of reductions achieved by self-isolation following symptoms. Widespread PCR testing in the general population is unlikely to limit transmission more than contact-tracing and quarantine based on symptoms alone, but could allow earlier release of contacts from quarantine. Immunity passports based on tests for antibody or infection could support return to work but face significant technical, legal and ethical challenges. Testing is essential for pandemic surveillance but its direct contribution to the prevention of transmission is likely to be limited to patients, HCWs and other high-risk groups.
Ainslie K, Walters C, Fu H, et al., 2020, Report 11: Evidence of initial success for China exiting COVID-19 social distancing policy after achieving containment
The COVID-19 epidemic was declared a Global Pandemic by WHO on 11 March 2020. As of 20 March 2020, over 254,000 cases and 10,000 deaths had been reported worldwide. The outbreak began in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019. In response to the fast-growing epidemic, China imposed strict social distancing in Wuhan on 23 January 2020 followed closely by similar measures in other provinces. At the peak of the outbreak in China (early February), there were between 2,000 and 4,000 new confirmed cases per day. For the first time since the outbreak began there have been no new confirmed cases caused by local transmission in China reported for five consecutive days up to 23 March 2020. This is an indication that the social distancing measures enacted in China have led to control of COVID-19 in China. These interventions have also impacted economic productivity in China, and the ability of the Chinese economy to resume without restarting the epidemic is not yet clear. Here, we estimate transmissibility from reported cases and compare those estimates with daily data on within-city movement, as a proxy for economic activity. Initially, within-city movement and transmission were very strongly correlated in the 5 provinces most affected by the epidemic and Beijing. However, that correlation is no longer apparent even though within-city movement has started to increase. A similar analysis for Hong Kong shows that intermediate levels of local activity can be maintained while avoiding a large outbreak. These results do not preclude future epidemics in China, nor do they allow us to estimate the maximum proportion of previous within-city activity that will be recovered in the medium term. However, they do suggest that after very intense social distancing which resulted in containment, China has successfully exited their stringent social distancing policy to some degree. Globally, China is at a more advanced stage of the pandemic. Policies implemented to reduce the spread of CO
Jeffrey B, Walters CE, Ainslie KEC, et al., 2020, Anonymised and aggregated crowd level mobility data from mobile phones suggests that initial compliance with COVID-19 social distancing interventions was high and geographically consistent across the UK., Wellcome Open Res, Vol: 5, ISSN: 2398-502X
Background: Since early March 2020, the COVID-19 epidemic across the United Kingdom has led to a range of social distancing policies, which have resulted in reduced mobility across different regions. Crowd level data on mobile phone usage can be used as a proxy for actual population mobility patterns and provide a way of quantifying the impact of social distancing measures on changes in mobility. Methods: Here, we use two mobile phone-based datasets (anonymised and aggregated crowd level data from O2 and from the Facebook app on mobile phones) to assess changes in average mobility, both overall and broken down into high and low population density areas, and changes in the distribution of journey lengths. Results: We show that there was a substantial overall reduction in mobility, with the most rapid decline on the 24th March 2020, the day after the Prime Minister's announcement of an enforced lockdown. The reduction in mobility was highly synchronized across the UK. Although mobility has remained low since 26th March 2020, we detect a gradual increase since that time. We also show that the two different datasets produce similar trends, albeit with some location-specific differences. We see slightly larger reductions in average mobility in high-density areas than in low-density areas, with greater variation in mobility in the high-density areas: some high-density areas eliminated almost all mobility. Conclusions: These analyses form a baseline from which to observe changes in behaviour in the UK as social distancing is eased and inform policy towards the future control of SARS-CoV-2 in the UK.
Vollmer MAC, 2017, Critical points and bifurcations of the three-dimensional onsager model for liquid crystals, Archive for Rational Mechanics and Analysis, Vol: 226, Pages: 851-922, ISSN: 0003-9527
We study the bifurcation diagram of the Onsager free-energy functional for liquid crystals with orientation parameter on the sphere. In particular, we concentrate on the bifurcations from the isotropic solution for a general class of two-body interaction potentials including the Onsager kernel. Reformulating the problem as a non-linear eigenvalue problem for the kernel operator, we prove that spherical harmonics are the corresponding eigenfunctions and we present a direct relationship between the coefficients of the Taylor expansion of this class of interaction potentials and their eigenvalues. We find explicit expressions for all bifurcation points corresponding to bifurcations from the isotropic state of the Onsager free-energy functional equipped with the Onsager interaction potential. A substantial amount of our analysis is based on the use of spherical harmonics and a special algorithm for computing expansions of products of spherical harmonics in terms of spherical harmonics is presented. Using a Lyapunov–Schmidt reduction, we derive a bifurcation equation depending on five state variables. The dimension of this state space is further reduced to two dimensions by using the rotational symmetry of the problem and the invariant theory of groups. On the basis of these results, we show that the first bifurcation from the isotropic state of the Onsager interaction potential is a transcritical bifurcation and that the corresponding solution is uniaxial. In addition, we prove some global properties of the bifurcation diagram such as the fact that the trivial solution is the unique local minimiser if the bifurcation parameter is high, that it is not a local minimiser if the bifurcation parameter is small, the boundedness of all equilibria of the functional and that the bifurcation branches are either unbounded or that they meet another bifurcation branch.
Nieuwenhuis MAC, Robinson JC, Steinerberger S, 2014, Minimal periods for ordinary differential equations in strictly convex Banach spaces and explicit bounds for some<mml:math xmlns:mml="http://www.w3.org/1998/Math/MathML" altimg="si1.gif" overflow="scroll"><mml:msup><mml:mrow><mml:mi>L</mml:mi></mml:mrow><mml:mrow><mml:mi>p</mml:mi></mml:mrow></mml:msup></mml:math>-spaces, Journal of Differential Equations, Vol: 256, Pages: 2846-2857, ISSN: 0022-0396
Mishra S, Berah T, Mellan TA, et al., On the derivation of the renewal equation from an age-dependent branching process: an epidemic modelling perspective
Renewal processes are a popular approach used in modelling infectious diseaseoutbreaks. In a renewal process, previous infections give rise to futureinfections. However, while this formulation seems sensible, its application toinfectious disease can be difficult to justify from first principles. It hasbeen shown from the seminal work of Bellman and Harris that the renewalequation arises as the expectation of an age-dependent branching process. Inthis paper we provide a detailed derivation of the original Bellman Harrisprocess. We introduce generalisations, that allow for time-varying reproductionnumbers and the accounting of exogenous events, such as importations. We showhow inference on the renewal equation is easy to accomplish within a Bayesianhierarchical framework. Using off the shelf MCMC packages, we fit to SouthKorea COVID-19 case data to estimate reproduction numbers and importations. Ourderivation provides the mathematical fundamentals and assumptions underpinningthe use of the renewal equation for modelling outbreaks.
Flaxman S, Mishra S, Gandy A, et al., Estimating the number of infections and the impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions on COVID-19 in European countries: technical description update
Following the emergence of a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and its spreadoutside of China, Europe has experienced large epidemics. In response, manyEuropean countries have implemented unprecedented non-pharmaceuticalinterventions including case isolation, the closure of schools anduniversities, banning of mass gatherings and/or public events, and mostrecently, wide-scale social distancing including local and national lockdowns. In this technical update, we extend a semi-mechanistic Bayesian hierarchicalmodel that infers the impact of these interventions and estimates the number ofinfections over time. Our methods assume that changes in the reproductivenumber - a measure of transmission - are an immediate response to theseinterventions being implemented rather than broader gradual changes inbehaviour. Our model estimates these changes by calculating backwards fromtemporal data on observed to estimate the number of infections and rate oftransmission that occurred several weeks prior, allowing for a probabilistictime lag between infection and death. In this update we extend our original model [Flaxman, Mishra, Gandy et al2020, Report #13, Imperial College London] to include (a) population saturationeffects, (b) prior uncertainty on the infection fatality ratio, (c) a morebalanced prior on intervention effects and (d) partial pooling of the lockdownintervention covariate. We also (e) included another 3 countries (Greece, theNetherlands and Portugal). The model code is available athttps://github.com/ImperialCollegeLondon/covid19model/ We are now reporting the results of our updated model online athttps://mrc-ide.github.io/covid19estimates/ We estimated parameters jointly for all M=14 countries in a singlehierarchical model. Inference is performed in the probabilistic programminglanguage Stan using an adaptive Hamiltonian Monte Carlo (HMC) sampler.
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