University of Guelph

Modelling predicts COVID-19 resurgence if physical distancing relaxed

29-May-2020 4:40 PM EDT, by University of Guelph

Newswise — If physical distancing measures in Ontario are relaxed too much or too quickly, the province could see hospitals overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients as well as exponential growth in deaths, concludes new research involving a University of Guelph infectious disease modeller.

The findings, contained in a research letter published in Annals of Internal Medicine, suggest that if Ontarians increase their contacts to normal levels in the coming weeks, the virus will quickly spread and result in cases exceeding hospital ICU (intensive care unit) capacity.

Population medicine professor Amy Greer, Canada Research Chair in Population Disease Modelling, and University of Toronto researchers used a mathematical model for this study that they developed in early spring.

"At that point, there were not a lot of cases and we were looking ahead to what could happen. This paper goes back, uses the same model, but updates it by calibrating it with observed Ontario data as well as data on what we now know about the biology of the disease," Greer said.

After including confirmed patients occupying ICU beds in Ontario between March 19 and May 3 as well as COVID-19 deaths among hospitalized patients, they found that had Ontario not imposed strict physical distancing measures in mid-March, the province would have seen five times as many deaths.

Deaths among hospitalized patients without intervention were projected to have been 12.7 deaths per 100,000, compared with 2.5 deaths per 100,000 with physical distancing.

"When you fit the model that we had to the data we observed, it does demonstrate that physical distancing has been impactful. We averted a large number of cases and were able to protect limited health infrastructure such as ICU beds and ventilators," she said.

The team also looked at how long it would take to exceed ICU capacity under relaxed physical distancing measures with no compensating steps.

Assuming that physical distancing measures reduced contacts in Ontario by 70 per cent, hospitals would be overwhelmed in only 35 days with no distancing measures.

Even if current restrictions stay in place until mid-June fully dropping distancing measures would lead to an overwhelmed health-care system in only 41 days, the researchers found.

Increasing contacts to anything greater than 50 per cent of pre-pandemic levels would lead to a spike in hospitalizations and deaths in the coming months, assuming that no other measures are implemented to control the spread of the virus.

"The amount of contact that happens as we begin to relax is a major factor for determining how quickly ICU capacity is exceeded," Greer said.

She said the only way to relax physical distancing safely is to vastly increase COVID-19 testing and to trace contacts of infected patients to urge them to self-isolate.

"If we let up on physical distancing without concurrent increases in testing and tracing, there is a rapid return to exponential growth."

###

SEE ORIGINAL STUDY




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 2454
Released: 3-Jul-2020 10:25 AM EDT
Lack of lockdown increased COVID-19 deaths in Sweden
University of Virginia Health System

Sweden’s controversial decision not to lock down during COVID-19 produced more deaths and greater healthcare demand than seen in countries with earlier, more stringent interventions, a new analysis finds.

Released: 2-Jul-2020 3:10 PM EDT
Researchers outline adapted health communications principles for the COVID-19 pandemic
CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy

The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced unique challenges for public health practitioners and health communicators that warrant an expansion of existing health communication principles to take into consideration.

Released: 2-Jul-2020 1:40 PM EDT
Collectivism drives efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19
University of Kent

Research from the University of Kent has found that people who adopt a collectivist mindset are more likely to comply with social distancing and hygiene practices to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Released: 2-Jul-2020 12:30 PM EDT
Tiny mineral particles are better vehicles for promising gene therapy
University of Wisconsin-Madison

University of Wisconsin–Madison researchers have developed a safer and more efficient way to deliver a promising new method for treating cancer and liver disorders and for vaccination — including a COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna Therapeutics that has advanced to clinical trials with humans.

Newswise: Newer variant of COVID-19–causing virus dominates global infections
Released: 2-Jul-2020 12:10 PM EDT
Newer variant of COVID-19–causing virus dominates global infections
Los Alamos National Laboratory

Research out today in the journal Cell shows that a specific change in the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus virus genome, previously associated with increased viral transmission and the spread of COVID-19, is more infectious in cell culture.

Newswise: From Wuhan to San Diego—How a mutation on the novel coronavirus has come to dominate the globe
Released: 2-Jul-2020 12:05 PM EDT
From Wuhan to San Diego—How a mutation on the novel coronavirus has come to dominate the globe
La Jolla Institute for Immunology

Two variants of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), called G614 and D614, were circulating in mid-March. A new study shows that the G version of the virus has come to dominate cases around the world. They report that this mutation does not make the virus more deadly, but it does help the virus copy itself, resulting in a higher viral load, or "titer," in patients.

Released: 2-Jul-2020 11:50 AM EDT
New Study Explains Potential Causes for “Happy Hypoxia” Condition in COVID-19 Patients
Loyola Medicine

A new research study provides possible explanations for COVID-19 patients who present with extremely low, otherwise life-threatening levels of oxygen, but no signs of dyspnea (difficulty breathing). This new understanding of the condition, known as silent hypoxemia or “happy hypoxia,” could prevent unnecessary intubation and ventilation in patients during the current and expected second wave of coronavirus.

Released: 2-Jul-2020 10:15 AM EDT
Stemming the Spread of Misinformation on Social Media
Association for Psychological Science

New research reported in the journal Psychological Science finds that priming people to think about accuracy could make them more discerning in what they subsequently share on social media.

29-Jun-2020 9:00 AM EDT
Coronavirus damages the endocrine system
Endocrine Society

People with endocrine disorders may see their condition worsen as a result of COVID-19, according to a new review published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society.


Showing results

110 of 2454

close
1.02066