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Epidemiologia, Volume 2, Issue 2 (June 2021) – 5 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): We constructed a compartmental mathematical model to study some key factors of the vaccination programs. We used a selection of metrics related to the outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to assess the impact of the efficacy of the vaccine and the pace of the vaccine inoculation. We found that both factors have a high impact on the outcomes. However, the rate of vaccine administration has a higher impact in reducing the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic. View this paper
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Article
Mask-Ematics: Modeling the Effects of Masks in COVID-19 Transmission in High-Risk Environments
Epidemiologia 2021, 2(2), 207-226; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/epidemiologia2020016 - 31 May 2021
Viewed by 1029
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed an unprecedented burden on public health and strained the worldwide economy. The rapid spread of COVID-19 has been predominantly driven by aerosol transmission, and scientific research supports the use of face masks to reduce transmission. However, a systematic [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed an unprecedented burden on public health and strained the worldwide economy. The rapid spread of COVID-19 has been predominantly driven by aerosol transmission, and scientific research supports the use of face masks to reduce transmission. However, a systematic and quantitative understanding of how face masks reduce disease transmission is still lacking. We used epidemic data from the Diamond Princess cruise ship to calibrate a transmission model in a high-risk setting and derive the reproductive number for the model. We explain how the terms in the reproductive number reflect the contributions of the different infectious states to the spread of the infection. We used that model to compare the infection spread within a homogeneously mixed population for different types of masks, the timing of mask policy, and compliance of wearing masks. Our results suggest substantial reductions in epidemic size and mortality rate provided by at least 75% of people wearing masks (robust for different mask types). We also evaluated the timing of the mask implementation. We illustrate how ample compliance with moderate-quality masks at the start of an epidemic attained similar mortality reductions to less compliance and the use of high-quality masks after the epidemic took off. We observed that a critical mass of 84% of the population wearing masks can completely stop the spread of the disease. These results highlight the significance of a large fraction of the population needing to wear face masks to effectively reduce the spread of the epidemic. The simulations show that early implementation of mask policy using moderate-quality masks is more effective than a later implementation with high-quality masks. These findings may inform public health mask-use policies for an infectious respiratory disease outbreak (such as one of COVID-19) in high-risk settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolving COVID-19 Epidemiology and Dynamics)
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Review
Imported COVID-19 Cases from Iran: A Rapid Review
Epidemiologia 2021, 2(2), 198-206; https://doi.org/10.3390/epidemiologia2020015 - 29 May 2021
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Abstract
This review aims to map the spread of the virus from Iran to the Middle East and the rest of the world and to help better understand the key trends that occurred during COVID-19 from this epidemic center. We performed a literature review [...] Read more.
This review aims to map the spread of the virus from Iran to the Middle East and the rest of the world and to help better understand the key trends that occurred during COVID-19 from this epidemic center. We performed a literature review which was undertaken from 16 June to 22 November 2020. We reviewed the available evidence on imported cases from Iran, in the electronic databases PubMed and Google Scholar, as well as gray literature. It is shown that 125 cases were imported from Iran, out of which most of the imported cases were asymptomatic, and PCR testing was the most common method of detection. It was also found that more than half of the imported cases were not quarantined or isolated at home. The review revealed that many countries, especially the Middle East had imported cases from Iran. The big gap between the date of arrival at the airport and the date of diagnosis emphasizes the importance of early detection and quarantine measures, to stop the spread of the virus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolving COVID-19 Epidemiology and Dynamics)
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Article
Spatially Refined Time-Varying Reproduction Numbers of COVID-19 by Health District in Georgia, USA, March–December 2020
Epidemiologia 2021, 2(2), 179-197; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/epidemiologia2020014 - 28 May 2021
Viewed by 689
Abstract
This study quantifies the transmission potential of SARS-CoV-2 across public health districts in Georgia, USA, and tests if per capita cumulative case count varies across counties. To estimate the time-varying reproduction number, Rt of SARS-CoV-2 in Georgia and its 18 public health [...] Read more.
This study quantifies the transmission potential of SARS-CoV-2 across public health districts in Georgia, USA, and tests if per capita cumulative case count varies across counties. To estimate the time-varying reproduction number, Rt of SARS-CoV-2 in Georgia and its 18 public health districts, we apply the R package ‘EpiEstim’ to the time series of historical daily incidence of confirmed cases, 2 March–15 December 2020. The epidemic curve is shifted backward by nine days to account for the incubation period and delay to testing. Linear regression is performed between log10-transformed per capita cumulative case count and log10-transformed population size. We observe Rt fluctuations as state and countywide policies are implemented. Policy changes are associated with increases or decreases at different time points. Rt increases, following the reopening of schools for in-person instruction in August. Evidence suggests that counties with lower population size had a higher per capita cumulative case count on June 15 (slope = −0.10, p = 0.04) and October 15 (slope = −0.05, p = 0.03), but not on August 15 (slope = −0.04, p = 0.09), nor December 15 (slope = −0.02, p = 0.41). We found extensive community transmission of SARS-CoV-2 across all 18 health districts in Georgia with median 7-day-sliding window Rt estimates between 1 and 1.4 after March 2020. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolving COVID-19 Epidemiology and Dynamics)
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Article
Associations between Meteorological Factors and Reported Mumps Cases from 1999 to 2020 in Japan
Epidemiologia 2021, 2(2), 162-178; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/epidemiologia2020013 - 02 Apr 2021
Viewed by 572
Abstract
The present study investigated associations between epidemiological mumps patterns and meteorological factors in Japan. We used mumps surveillance data and meteorological data from all 47 prefectures of Japan from 1999 to 2020. A time-series analysis incorporating spectral analysis and the least-squares method was [...] Read more.
The present study investigated associations between epidemiological mumps patterns and meteorological factors in Japan. We used mumps surveillance data and meteorological data from all 47 prefectures of Japan from 1999 to 2020. A time-series analysis incorporating spectral analysis and the least-squares method was adopted. In all power spectral densities for the 47 prefectures, spectral lines were observed at frequency positions corresponding to 1-year and 6-month cycles. Optimum least-squares fitting (LSF) curves calculated with the 1-year and 6-month cycles explained the underlying variation in the mumps data. The LSF curves reproduced bimodal and unimodal cycles that are clearly observed in northern and southern Japan, respectively. In investigating factors associated with the seasonality of mumps epidemics, we defined the contribution ratios of a 1-year cycle (Q1) and 6-month cycle (Q2) as the contributions of amplitudes of 1-year and 6-month cycles, respectively, to the entire amplitude of the time series data. Q1 and Q2 were significantly correlated with annual mean temperature. The vaccine coverage rate of a measles–mumps–rubella vaccine might not have affected the 1-year and 6-month modes of the time series data. The results of the study suggest an association between mean temperature and mumps epidemics in Japan. Full article
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Article
Analysis of Key Factors of a SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination Program: A Mathematical Modeling Approach
Epidemiologia 2021, 2(2), 140-161; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/epidemiologia2020012 - 01 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1025
Abstract
The administration of vaccines against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) started in early December of 2020. Currently, there are only a few approved vaccines, each with different efficacies and mechanisms of action. Moreover, vaccination programs in different regions may vary due to differences [...] Read more.
The administration of vaccines against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) started in early December of 2020. Currently, there are only a few approved vaccines, each with different efficacies and mechanisms of action. Moreover, vaccination programs in different regions may vary due to differences in implementation, for instance, simply the availability of the vaccine. In this article, we study the impact of the pace of vaccination and the intrinsic efficacy of the vaccine on prevalence, hospitalizations, and deaths related to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Then we study different potential scenarios regarding the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic in the near future. We construct a compartmental mathematical model and use computational methodologies to study these different scenarios. Thus, we are able to identify some key factors to reach the aims of the vaccination programs. We use some metrics related to the outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to assess the impact of the efficacy of the vaccine and the pace of the vaccine inoculation. We found that both factors have a high impact on the outcomes. However, the rate of vaccine administration has a higher impact in reducing the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic. This result shows that health institutions need to focus on increasing the vaccine inoculation pace and create awareness in the population about the importance of COVID-19 vaccines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolving COVID-19 Epidemiology and Dynamics)
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