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COVID-19 Scan for Feb 19, 2021
More than 20.5 million years of life lost during COVID-19
More than 20.5 million years of life may have been lost during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Scientific Reports study published yesterday. The study also reports that, compared with the median mortality rate of the seasonal flu, COVID-19 deaths may be two to nine times higher.
The researchers looked at mortality and life expectancy data in 81 countries through Jan 6, 2021, focusing on both COVID-related deaths and excess deaths. By analyzing 1,279,866 deaths, they found that 20,507,518 years of life were lost over the study period.
While this averages out to be about 16 years per death, years of life lost (YLL) were distributed unevenly across age groups. People between 55 and 75 years bore 44.9% of YLL, those younger than 55 bore 30.2%, and those older than 75 bore 25%. The average age of death was 72.8 years, but the researchers note that in higher income countries, more COVID deaths were in older groups compared with low- and middle-income countries, where more deaths were concentrated around those 55 or younger.
In high-income countries with a heavy COVID caseload, COVID-related deaths were only a quarter to half of the YLL compared with those lost due to heart conditions, a high cause of death. However, when compared with transport accidents (a mid-level risk) and the seasonal flu (a similar risk), YLL were 2 to 8 and 2 to 9 times greater, respectively. The researchers write that results for this and other study comparisons varied in range due to pandemic progression and sociodemographics; for instance, in Latin America, COVID deaths were equal to or twice as high as cardiovascular deaths.
Additionally, the data suggest men have lost 45% more years of life than women, prompting the researchers to suggest that more younger adult-centered mitigations and gender-focused ones would be justified. Overall, they recommend further research be done as their study is only a snapshot and also doesn’t address years lost to disability.
Feb 18 Sci Rep study
Study finds first COVID vaccine dose lowers disease risk 30% to 85%
A single dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech BNT162b2 COVID vaccine was associated with a 30% to 75% COVID rate reduction in healthcare workers during the first month, with an even higher reduction in symptomatic infection, according to a retrospective cohort study of 9,109 Israeli healthcare workers.
The study, published in The Lancet yesterday, reported that between Dec 19, 2020 (the start of Israel’s healthcare worker vaccinations), and Jan 24, 2021, 170 healthcare workers (1.9%) got COVID-19 infections. Of these, 89 workers (52.4%) were unvaccinated, 78 (45.9%) tested positive after receiving the first vaccine dose, and 3 (1.8%) were positive after the second dose. None of the infections were hospital acquired, and of the 125 that could be traced, 87 were from the community, which the researchers note was experiencing its third wave of COVID cases, peaking at 10,116 daily new cases in mid-January.
By Jan 24, 7,124 healthcare workers (78.2%) had received the first dose and 6,037 (66.3%) had received the second, with 84.6% of these receiving the second dose on days 21 or 22 after the first dose.
After adjusting for community spread, the infection rate reductions after the first BNT162b2 dose were 30% (95% confidence interval [CI], 2 to 50) for days 1 to 14 post vaccination and 75% (95% CI, 72 to 84) for days 15 to 28 post vaccination. Case incidence decreased from 7.4 infections per 10,000 person-days in unvaccinated healthcare workers to 5.5 and 3.0 during days 1 to 14 and days 15 to 28 post vaccination, respectively.
Symptomatic infection rate reductions were even higher, with a 47% reduction observed during days 1 to 14 post vaccination and an 85% reduction seen in days 15 to 28 after the first dose (95% CI, 17 to 66 and 71 to 92, respectively).
“Early reductions of COVID-19 rates provide support of delaying the second dose in countries facing vaccine shortages and scarce resources, so as to allow higher population coverage with a single dose,” the researchers write. “Longer follow-up to assess long-term effectiveness of a single dose is needed to inform a second dose delay policy.”
Feb 18 The Lancet study