On September 22, 2021, FDA authorized an additional (booster) dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine =6 months after completion of the primary series among persons aged =65 years, at high risk for severe COVID-19, or whose occupational or institutional exposure puts them at high risk for COVID-19.
Health Canada has updated the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) and Janssen COVID-19 vaccine product monographs to include information on Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) or Vaccine-Induced Immune Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia (VITT).
The new SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Risk Assessment published on September 30, 2021 by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) stated that the EU has not yet achieved high enough COVID-19 vaccination coverage in their total populations (only 61.1% vaccinated) to relax restrictions as there is considerable variation in vaccine uptake across countries, resulting in large proportions of the EU/EEA population remaining susceptible to infection.
The ECDC also recommended that: “Vaccination against seasonal influenza, particularly for vulnerable populations and healthcare workers, will be essential to mitigate the impact on individuals and on healthcare systems in the coming months from the potential co-circulation of the two viruses.
Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) said on September 27, 2021, it has started a large study testing its investigational oral antiviral drug for the prevention of COVID-19 infection among those who have been exposed to the virus.
September 24, 2021
The Joint Committee on Vaccinations and immunization (JCVI) in the UK give a precautionary approach regarding vaccination of children aged 12 to 15 years who do not have underlying health conditions.
A prospective study has shown that the use of a booster dose (third dose, 5 months after full vaccination) with Pfizer (BNT162b2) substantially reduces the rate of confirmed COVID-19 infection and severe illness among individuals 60 and older.
Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization released recommendations on September 10th 2021 to provide a third vaccine dose to immunocompromised and populations with serious immunodeficiencies.
The JCVI is advising booster vaccines be offered to those more at risk from serious disease such as residents in care homes, adults aged 50 years or over, frontline HCW, individuals with underlying health conditions and adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals.
October 13, 2021
- Delta dominance - Delta continues to account for the majority of variants sequenced from surveillance data from Public Health Ontario, Public Health England and ECDC.
- Following a Delta outbreak among incarcerated persons in a federal prison, the CDC recommends maintaining multi-component prevention strategies such as testing, masking, prompt medical isolation, and quarantine in congregate settings where physical distancing is challenging, even with a high vaccination rate.
- Public Health England reports that unvaccinated people younger than 50 years comprised the highest proportion of attendances to emergency care and deaths due to Delta infection in the UK from 1 February 2021 to 12 September 2021.
- CDC surveillance data indicates that unvaccinated people face 11 times the risk of death from Delta variant in the US.
- Increased severity of COVID-19 in pregnant individuals has been observed during Delta surge in Dallas County, TX US between August 29, 2021, and September 4, 2021
- A cluster of 59 cases has been linked to a single flight with 146 passengers from New Delhi to Hong Kong in April 2021, despite the 72 hours testing policy. Sequence analysis identified two VOC; Alpha and Delta.
September 17, 2021
- Public Health Ontario reports that COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths among children remain low in comparison to the COVID-19-related clinical severity and deaths in adults but advise that policies increasing vaccination rates of children’s contacts such as teachers and parents, will have impacts in reducing pediatric cases.
- Public Health Ontario recommend the development of a new vaccine product for a global variant, as ongoing mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 virus mean future Variants of Concern (VOCs) may emerge, including Variants of High Consequence (VOHCs).
- A total of 66,413 Delta cases were recorded in Canada as of 09-September-2021, with Alberta recording the highest number of cases with 27,466, Saskatchewan recorded 2,688 cases.
- The Alpha variant has now been added to de-escalated variants along with Theta, Eta, Epsilon, Lota, Zeta, and others by the ECDC based on a series of criteria.
- A modeling study using 9 mechanistic models projected possible substantial resurgences of COVID-19 across the US from July to December, resulting from the more transmissible Delta variant.
- A new variant of COVID-19 called “Mu,” has been reported in the WHO epidemiological update as a “Variant of Interest”.
Asamoah, G; Badea, A; Lee, S; Shumilak, G; Reeder, B; Groot, G; Muhajarine, N; Hernandez-Ronquillo L; Miller, L; Howell-Spooner, B. What is the epidemiology of variants and what are the implications for healthcare? 2021 Oct 13. Document no.: EOC031801v014 RR. In: COVID-19 Rapid Evidence Reviews [Internet]. SK: SK COVID Evidence Support Team, c2021. 45 p. (CEST rapid review report).
Emerging evidence suggesting waning levels of immune markers with time, particularly against more virulent variants. How this will correlate to functional immunity is yet to be documented.
Immunocompromised populations with lower levels of responses to standard 2-dose regimens may benefit from a 3rd dose of mRNA vaccine as a part of the primary series, though their response may still be lower than what is expected in the general population
Current recommendation for populations to receive a 3rd dose include adults over a certain age (depending on jurisdiction), those living in long-term care settings, frontline health and social workers and/or people working in high risk settings, those with immune compromising conditions leading to increased risk of severe disease/poor outcomes if infected
Safety trials have indicated that side effects to 3rd/booster doses are similar to those following the 2nd dose in initial vaccination series
Badea, A; Groot, G; Muhajarine, N; Lee, S; Shumilak, G; Hernandez-Ronquillo, L; Tian, K. What is the current evidence and recommendations regarding COVID-19 vaccine booster shots (exceeding 2 doses) for the general population? 2021 Oct 07, Document no.: EOC210902 RR. In: COVID-19 Rapid Evidence Reviews [Internet]. SK: SK COVID Evidence Support Team, c2021. 8 p. (CEST rapid review report).
August 18, 2021
- Proof of vaccine “freebies” to customers are slowing
- Many vaccine “lotteries” have now ended with prizes being given out, retrospective analysis of vaccine numbers and assumptions regarding causality will likely follow in the near future
- More state-sponsored incentives such as partnerships with ride-share companies, childcare centers, etc.
- Post-secondary institutions offering incentives mostly in the form of raffles with grand prizes of cash/scholarships for staff/students with proof of vaccination
- ESN evidence synthesis found 8 systematic reviews providing some evidence of positive impact of financial incentives with or without other interventions for non-COVID-19 vaccines, 3 reviews found no effect
- Several European countries (Greece, France, Italy) mandating vaccination for healthcare workers with refusers facing sanctions/fines/suspensions/job loss
- Ontario requiring hospitals, licensed care homes and other high-risk settings such as post-secondary institutions, women’s shelters, youth care facilities, etc. to establish vaccination policies – while vaccination will not likely be mandatory, those who are not vaccinated will be subject to frequent antigen testing.
- In Pakistan, the government will be blocking the SIM cards of vaccine refusers, and allowing business to resume in areas with a vaccination rate of greater than 20%
- In Indonesia, vaccine refusers will have any social aid suspended and face fines
- In the Philippines, the President is threatening to find ways to legalize arresting and forcing vaccination for refusers
- A retrospective analysis of vaccination data in Israel found a peak of 2nd dose vaccinations correlating with the exemption of quarantine for vaccinated individuals beginning January 17th, and high rates continued following the day with the highest new daily cases as well as the day of highest fatality rates
- Israeli survey of 500 individuals found that 21% of respondents were not intending to vaccinate. The implementation of the ‘Green Pass’ would possibly or definitely convince 31% of respondents, but 46% of respondents indicated that it would not.
May 27, 2021
Vaccine incentives are beginning to emerge in North America in various forms due to a lagging vaccine uptake combined with the threat of SARS-CoV-2 variants
Vaccine incentives range from free items and discounts offered by businesses to customers to financial incentives offered by companies to employees such as paid time off or cash bonuses
Some states/provinces have developed vaccine incentive programs offering large lotteries with cash prizes or scholarship awards, cash incentives or offers for free/discounted entertainment options
Some incentives are specifically geared to high priority populations, for example offering gift cards to anyone within a certain age demographic that receives a vaccine at certain sites, or offering the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine at walk-up vaccination sites in subway stations with the addition of free transit passes
Badea, A; Reeder, B; Groot, G; Ellsworth, C. What are other jurisdictions offering for incentive-based COVID-19? 2021 Aug 24, Document no.: EOC210501v2 RR. In: COVID-19 Rapid Evidence Reviews [Internet]. SK: SK COVID Evidence Support Team, c2021. 10 p. (CEST rapid review report).
Long COVID-19 is likely to increase healthcare demands across the health system, including emergency departments, hospital admissions, primary care visits, specialists appointments, and home care and rehabilitation services.
The clinical care burden of long COVID-19 is the greatest in the first 3 months after testing and is likely to place the greatest demand on primary care services.
Patients with severe COVID-19 illness are more likely to place longer-term demands (4-6 months) on specialist care due to respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, metabolic, psychiatric and unspecified conditions.
McLean, M; Williams-Roberts, H; Reeder, B; Howell-Spooner, B; Ellsworth, C. What are long COVID's demands on the healthcare system, and its severity of the illness? 2021 Jul 12, Document no.: EPM210602 RR. In: COVID-19 Rapid Evidence Reviews [Internet]. SK: SK COVID Evidence Support Team, c2021. 23 p. (CEST rapid review report).
The frequency of Long COVID symptoms varies widely across studies based on populations studied, duration of follow up and methods of assessment of symptoms.
It is estimated that 1 in 50 persons experience Long COVID symptoms after 12 weeks; however, higher estimates up to 80% have been reported in studies with a greater proportion of persons who were previously hospitalized. A recent study of a mixed cohort of 96 persons found that only 22.9% had no symptoms at 12 months post diagnosis.
A wide range of symptoms affecting multiple organ systems has been reported. For many persons symptoms improve over time while others experience persistent and/or new symptoms. Among studies with the longest duration of follow up, the most frequently reported symptoms included fatigue (up to 65%), dyspnea (up to 50%), headache (up to 45%), anosmia/ageusia (up to 25%), cognitive memory/concentration (up to 39.6%) and sleep disorders (up to 26%).
Few studies estimated the duration of symptoms with estimates ranging from 2.2% for 6 months and 27% for 7-9 months.
The mechanism(s) leading to Long COVID remain unclear but those experiencing post acute sequelae tend to be older, have a greater number of symptoms during the acute phase of illness or manifest specific symptoms and live with multiple comorbid conditions such as obesity.
The lack of consensus on a definition of Long COVID contributes to marked variations in robust prevalence estimates.
Williams-Roberts, H; Groot, G; Reeder, B; Howell-Spooner, B; Ellsworth, C. What is the incidence and duration of Long COVID cases? 2021 Jul 09, Document no.: EPM210601 RR. In: COVID-19 Rapid Evidence Reviews [Internet]. SK: SK COVID Evidence Support Team, c2021. 19 p. (CEST rapid review report).
Requiring proof of vaccination for entry into another country is not a new idea. There are regulations that need to be followed to set up a “vaccine passport” in relation to international travel (International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005))
At present the World Health Organization does not recommend vaccine passports for international travel, but they are working on a standard Smart Vaccination Certificate technical specification and standards to allow for harmonised processes to include COVID-19 vaccines into an updated version of the IHR (2005)
Countries around the world are beginning to put vaccine passports into place for international travel, as well as in some countries within country travel and access to services or businesses including Israel, France, Italy, Denmark, and the EU
The Canadian Federal government is supportive of a vaccine passport for international travel but recognize the issuing of vaccine passports will need to be province led
As of May 13, 2021, the province of Quebec has begun issuing a downloadable QR code that individual can keep on their smart phone.
As of June 9, 2021, the Federal government of Canada discussed easing restrictions for fully vaccinated Canadian citizens returning to the country
Ethical considerations in the use of vaccine passports include equitable access to vaccination (domestically and internationally), access to technology (eg. Smartphone passports), marginalization, or stigmatization especially among historically racialized groups, and socially isolated populations
Legal considerations include
o Clarifying who has the legal authority to require proof of vaccination,
o Ensuring that if new legislation is created and implemented it is in line with all pre-existing legislation (Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Human Rights Codes, privacy legislation, employment legislation),
o Ensuring that, if created by the government, there is coordination of the Provincial and Federal governments for international travel with respect to jurisdictional overlap, security of information, fraud
Health care facilities should be able to legally enact vaccination policies for patient-facing employees so long as they allow for exemptions due to medical inability or bona fide religious, or conscientious beliefs
Six in ten Canadians (61%) expect vaccine passports to be widely used in Canada by the end of 2021, the same proportion (61%) of Canadians also agreed that only vaccinated people should be allowed to engage in events involving larger crowds such as public transit, air travel, or attending cultural and sports events
Lashta E, von Tigerstrom B, Reeder B, Groot G; Miller, L; Mueller, M. What are the ethical/legal aspects of vaccine requirements? 2021 Jun 21, Document no.: EOC210503 RR. In: COVID-19 Rapid Evidence Reviews [Internet]. SK: SK COVID Evidence Support Team, c2021. 25 p. (CEST rapid review report).
Badea, A; Groot, G; Reeder, B; Young, C; Ellsworth, C. What are legitimate exemptions/contraindications for COVID-19 vaccines from a medical point of view? 2021 Jun 10, Document no.: EOC210502 RR. In: COVID-19 Rapid Evidence Reviews [Internet]. SK: SK COVID Evidence Support Team, c2021. 8 p. (CEST rapid review report).
The group designated in Saskatchewan as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) is a heterogenous clinical population with factors that impair their immune response to differing degrees.
Very Limited evidence is currently available to assess the immune response following vaccination is selected clinical populations; no evidence is available to assess vaccine efficacy or effectiveness in these populations. The clinical relevance of measured immune response with respect to protection from disease is still uncertain.
In considering the immune response of the CEV population, it is recommended that the absolute difference in immune response between 1 and 2 doses be considered, as it is possible some patient groups will have lowered protection regardless of vaccine strategy.
In terms of clinical subgroups:
oOrgan transplantation recipients on immunosuppressive medication: solid organ transplant recipients receiving anti-metabolite maintenance immunosuppression therapy were less likely to develop an antibody response to an mRNA vaccine, compared to those receiving other types of therapies (37% vs 63%). In a study of 242 kidney transplant recipients on immunosuppressive therapy only 10.8% became seropositive at 28 days after a single dose of mRNA vaccine.
oCancer: A study of 151 elderly patients with solid and hematological malignancies and 54 healthy controls who received one or two doses of BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) vaccine shows approximately 39% of solid cancer patients, 13% of hematological cancer patients, and 97% of healthy controls (p<0.0001) developed anti-S IgG 21 days following a single dose vaccine. However, response in solid cancer patients increased to 95% within 2 weeks of the second dose at 21 days.
oOther immunocompromising conditions (e.g., auto-immune disorders and therapy): some level of immunity is generated with vaccination; however, what this means clinically is unknown. It seems that ensuring the dosing is properly timed around biologic therapy is important.
Azizian, A; Lee, S; Shumilak, G; Groot, G; Reeder, B; Miller, L; Howell-Spooner, B. What are the risks or benefits of extended intervals between doses of COVID-19 vaccines compared to recommended dosing in extremely vulnerable populations? 2021 Apr 20, Document no.: EOC210302 RR. In: COVID-19 Rapid Evidence Reviews [Internet]. SK: SK COVID Evidence Support Team, c2021. 15 p. (CEST rapid review report).
· Tele-ICU services are provided either by existing staff within the network to smaller centers, or outsourced to larger networks or independent firms
· The impact of tele-ICU adoption can result in a decrease in ICU mortality as large as 32%
· The impact of tele-ICU adoption of length of stay is mixed, with some studies reporting a significant decrease, while others report a small, but statistically insignificant decrease
· The degree of impact of tele-ICU adoption is linked to several factors such as yearly admission rates, location (urban vs. rural) and level of authority given to the tele-ICU team leading to increased positive impacts.
Badea, A; Groot, G; Reeder, B; Young, C; Ellsworth, C; Howell-Spooner, B. How to deliver remote ICU care for COVID-19 patients to avoid/prevent transfer from smaller communities to tertiary care hospitals. 2021 Apr 6; Document no.: CC210301 RR. In: COVID-19 Rapid Evidence Reviews [Internet]. SK: SK COVID Evidence Support Team, c2020. 13p. (CEST rapid review report)
Current recommendations suggest phased distribution of authorized vaccines and prioritization of the recipients (e.g., health care workers, frontline essential workers, and elderly population).
A concern that could exist with using AstraZeneca on critical populations is that it may have little coverage for mild-moderate B.1.351, which may have implications in transmission. This could be a concern in critical workforces if the variant becomes predominant, especially given the potentially higher transmissibility of variant. The literature is mixed but it is possible that AstraZeneca has lower efficacy than the mRNA vaccines.
Canadian National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends that in the context of limited vaccine supply, initial doses of mRNA vaccines should be prioritized for those at highest risk of severe illness and death and highest risk of exposure to COVID-19. On the other hand, US Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends no product preference for the vaccines.
Just recently, NACI has expanded its recommendation for the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine to all people over the age of 18, now including those 65 years of age and over.
While Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines and need special logistical and transportation considerations, AstraZeneca and Johnson&Johnson (J&J) vaccines are viral vector vaccines that are easier to transport.
J&J is a single dose vaccine thus may be more appropriate in certain settings (such as homeless shelters and correctional facilities). Of note, there is no empirical evidence yet available to support this use; this suggestion is based simply on the nature of the vaccine.
Azizian, A; Shumilak, G; Lee, S; Reeder, B; Groot, G; Miller, L; Howell-Spooner, B. What are the differences between COVID-19 vaccines and how they should be distributed based on population group(s)? 2021 Mar 18; Document no.: EOC031001 RR. In: COVID-19 Rapid Evidence Reviews [Internet]. SK: SK COVID Evidence Support Team, c2020. 19 p. (CEST rapid review report)
There is a lack of consensus around the clinical definition of Long COVID which in turn causes challenges with understanding the incidence and prevalence as well as the potential impact for the health care system.
Information about the natural history of Long COVID is incomplete but limited evidence suggests that the immune response trajectories differ for those with few or no symptoms compared to those with severe disease. Individuals with severe disease are more likely to exhibit immunological marker abnormalities but anyone can experience functional limitations.
The mechanisms underlying the development of persistent symptoms in Long COVID remain an enigma. Despite multiple theories, there is little empirical evidence for specific immunological and or biochemical abnormalities in samples of individuals with symptoms consistent with Long COVID.
Risk factors for Long COVID include female gender, older age, higher body mass index, pre-existing asthma and the number of symptoms.
Few studies explored the short-term impact of Long COVID on health care utilization patterns and found a higher impact for those with severe disease compared with mild disease.
Williams-Roberts, H; Groot, G; Reeder, B; Linassi, G; Basran, J; Dalidowicz, M; Mueller, M. Long COVID: What does it mean for the healthcare system and programs to deal with it? 2021 Mar 15; Document no.: EOC021901 RR. In: COVID-19 Rapid Evidence Reviews [Internet]. SK: SK COVID Evidence Support Team, c2020. 37 p. (CEST rapid review report)
Vulnerable populations such as those experiencing homelessness are 20 times more likely to be hospitalised due to COVID-19, 10 times more likely to require intensive care for COVID-19 and 5 times more likely to die within 21 days of a positive test for COVID-19
Many organizations advocate for socially vulnerable populations to be considered priority populations due to their oftencomplex health needs and inability to fully execute best practices for infection prevention and control
Past experiences from Hepatitis vaccination (requiring 3 injections) and H1N1 pandemic influenza vaccination indicate that partnering with community organizations to provide vaccinations in shelters, community centers and other frequently accessed places along with education and access to known, trusted healthcare providers greatly increase the uptake of vaccination among socially vulnerable populations
Beyond sheltered populations experiencing homelessness, considerations for equitable vaccination programs for the general population should include plans for accessibility for all, including underserved geographic regions
Badea, A; Reeder, B; Hanson, L; Miller, L; Howell-Spooner, B. What are the vaccination strategies for vulnerable populations? 2021 Mar 12; Document no.: PH030401 RR. In: COVID-19 Rapid Evidence Reviews [Internet]. SK: SK COVID Evidence Support Team, c2020. 33 p. (CEST rapid review report)
There is limited research examining COVID-19 ICU patients undergoing prolonged (>14 days) mechanical ventilation
Rates of prolonged mechanical ventilation, defined as > 14 days, among COVID-19 ICU patients ranged from 16.7% to 33.3%.
Overall, studies suggest that length of ICU stay range from 11 to 31 days and length of hospital stay range from 25 to 51 days among COVID-19 patients who have undergone prolonged mechanical ventilation.
Following ICU discharge, patients are admitted to general wards, subacute nursing facilities, pneumological sub-intensive units, rehabilitation wards or long-term acute care.
Groot, G; McLean, M; Fox, L; Mueller, M. What is the final disposition of post-COVID patients who require chronic ventilation in the ICU? 2021 Feb 27; Document no.: CC011101 RR. In: COVID-19 Rapid Evidence Reviews [Internet]. SK: SK COVID Evidence Support Team, c2020. 37 p. (CEST rapid review report)
Generally speaking, data indicate that adult cancer patients and those who have recently received or are receiving anti-cancer therapy are at a higher risk of severe outcomes and death resulting from COVID-19 compared to those without cancer. However, more data are beginning to elucidate the nuances of these risks depending on patient specific factors.
Limited data indicate that pediatric cancer patients are not at a high level of risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19.
Limited evidence indicates some differences in the course and severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection depending on the type of immunosuppressive therapy a patient receives.
Generally speaking, data indicate that adult cancer patients and those who have recently received or are receiving anti-cancer therapy are at a higher risk of severe outcomes and death resulting from COVID-19 compared to those without cancer.
Pediatric cancer populations may not be at the same level of risk as adult populations.
There is not enough evidence at this time to determine if there are differences in the course of SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients receiving chemotherapy vs. those who are not aside from outcomes and severity.
Vanstone, J; Groot, G; Miller, L; Mueller, M. What are the differences in the clinical course of COVID-19 between patients undergoing chemotherapy and otherwise healthy individuals? 2021 Jan 22; Document no.: EOC062201v2 RR. In: COVID-19 Rapid Evidence Reviews [Internet]. SK: SK COVID Evidence Support Team, c2020. 5 p. (CEST rapid review report)
· Recommended to use existing vaccination structures and delivery services as much as possible for distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines
· Important to consider cold-chain requirements when developing distribution plans
· Should consider alternate locations for hard-to-reach populations that are easily accessible and familiar
· Consider branching out to mobile vaccination (e.g. home visits, door-to-door), pharmacies, workplaces, congregate living facilities, walk-up/drive-through mechanisms for vaccine delivery
Badea, A; Groot, G; Mueller, M; Howell-Spooner, B. How are other jurisdictions distributing COVID-19 vaccines in non-healthcare worker environments and what is the rationale for those distribution models? 2021 Jan 19; Document no.: PH011401 RR. In: COVID-19 Rapid Evidence Reviews [Internet]. SK: SK COVID Evidence Support Team, c2020. 17 p. (CEST rapid review report)
Overall, data are insufficient to recommend for or against the use of ECMO in patients with COVID-19 and refractory hypoxemia.
The best available evidence points to an overall combined mortality rate of 46% among COVID-19 patients placed on ECMO (n=331). This rate is similar to the overall 40% mortality rate for extracorporeal life support in pulmonary failure. However, mortality rates among COVID-19 patients on ECMO range widely due to patient factors, site specific factors, and small sample sizes in available studies.
Recommendations for strategies and patient indications/contraindications are available to help guide centres intending to offer ECMO to COVID-19 patients.
Vanstone, J; Groot, G; Dalidowicz, M; Young, C. What are the outcomes of ECMO and COVID, particularly in small centers? 2021 Jan 13; Document no.: EOC011101 RR. In: COVID-19 Rapid Evidence Reviews [Internet]. SK: SK COVID Evidence Support Team, c2020. 7 p. (CEST rapid review report)
A recent comprehensive examination of international experience  provides a hierarchy of effectiveness of public health interventions. The most effective interventions, as measured by the change in the effective reproduction number (Rt), include the cancellation of small and mass gatherings, closure of educational institutions, border restrictions, lockdowns, restrictions on individual movement, and increased availability and use of PPE such as face masks. Less effective are testing restrictions, public transportation restrictions, airport health checks, and environmental cleaning and disinfection (Figure 1).
Shelter-in-place, lockdown, and curfew orders have a substantial impact on the burden of COVID-19, having reduced Rt from 6.9 to 0.8 over the course of a month in Spain, for example. In an international comparison, stay-at-home orders reduced the percent daily increase in new cases from baseline from 26.9% at baseline to 20.3%, 12.8%, 7.3% at 7, 14, 21 days, respectively.
Closure of schools and workplaces are associated with a modest reduction in the incidence of COVID-19, in the order of 13%.
Travel restrictions lead to a moderate reduction COVID-19 disease burden. A study of 13 European countries found that voluntary reduced mobility occurring prior to government policies decreased the percent change in deaths per day by 9.2%, whereas subsequent government closure policies decreased deaths per day by 14.0%.
An extensive systematic review of SARS, MERS, and SARS-CoV-2 demonstrates that physical distancing of 1 m is associated with a relative risk (RR) of disease transmission = 0.18. The RR decreases two-fold for each additional m increase in distance.
A ban on public gatherings reduces COVID-19 transmission; however, evidence supporting specific gathering size limits is weak. In Germany, gathering restrictions and voluntary behaviour changes had the single greatest effect on the epidemic, reducing Rt by 9.7% per day and the growth rate from 30 to 12% within 2 weeks. Findings from the UK lockdown indicate that the average daily number of contacts decreased from 10.8 before to 2.8 after the lockdown. This was associated with a decrease in Rt from 2.6 to 0.62.
In a systematic review and in modelling studies, mask use by the public is estimated to reduce COVID-19 incidence and deaths by 38% and 47%, respectively.
McCarron, M; Karreman, E; Okpalauwaekwe, U; Henderson, R; Reeder, B; Muhajarine, N; Neudorf, C; Groot, G; Miller, L; Howell-Spooner, B. Which public health interventions are (most) effective in reducing the burden of COVID-19 disease in predominately OECD countries? 2021 Jan 11; Document no.: PH111001 RR. In: COVID-19 Rapid Evidence Reviews [Internet]. SK: SK COVID Evidence Support Team, c2020. 54 p. (CEST rapid review report)
Badea, A; Groot, G; Fox, L; Mueller, M. What is the risk of COVID-19 transmission during AGMP procedures? 2020 Dec 18; Document no.: PPE120901 RR. In: COVID-19 Rapid Evidence Reviews [Internet]. SK: SK COVID Evidence Support Team, c2020. 30 p. (CEST rapid review report)
· There is little literature on the performance of triage frameworks. However, critiques of frameworks can help to inform the development of future protocols.
· It is ethically problematic to include age as a triage factor rather than the more nuanced factors of frailty and chronic comorbidities.
· The public should be included when creating triage protocols to create transparency and trust in the health system.
· Healthcare providers should be familiar with the ethical decisions that have been made in establishing the protocols. However, using a triage team to make decisions about resource allocation would alleviate moral burden from clinicians.
· Regular review of current guidelines, such as the use of SOFA scores, is recommended as knowledge about COVID-19 changes.
Rapid Review Report: CC120401 RR (Version 1: December 17, 2020 11:45) 2
· Patients should be regularly reassessed to allow for timely redistribution of critical resources.
Fick, F; Valiani, S; Miller, L; Howell-Spooner, B. Does data exist on the performance of triage or resource allocation frameworks for COVID-19 and other pandemics? 2020 Dec 17; Document no.: CC120401 RR. In: COVID-19 Rapid Evidence Reviews [Internet]. SK: SK COVID Evidence Support Team, c2020. 91 p. (CEST rapid review report)