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      SARS-CoV-2: a general recommendation to adhere to governmental regulations cannot be evidence-based

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          The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer deaths due to delays in diagnosis in England, UK: a national, population-based, modelling study

          Summary Background Since a national lockdown was introduced across the UK in March, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, cancer screening has been suspended, routine diagnostic work deferred, and only urgent symptomatic cases prioritised for diagnostic intervention. In this study, we estimated the impact of delays in diagnosis on cancer survival outcomes in four major tumour types. Methods In this national population-based modelling study, we used linked English National Health Service (NHS) cancer registration and hospital administrative datasets for patients aged 15–84 years, diagnosed with breast, colorectal, and oesophageal cancer between Jan 1, 2010, and Dec 31, 2010, with follow-up data until Dec 31, 2014, and diagnosed with lung cancer between Jan 1, 2012, and Dec 31, 2012, with follow-up data until Dec 31, 2015. We use a routes-to-diagnosis framework to estimate the impact of diagnostic delays over a 12-month period from the commencement of physical distancing measures, on March 16, 2020, up to 1, 3, and 5 years after diagnosis. To model the subsequent impact of diagnostic delays on survival, we reallocated patients who were on screening and routine referral pathways to urgent and emergency pathways that are associated with more advanced stage of disease at diagnosis. We considered three reallocation scenarios representing the best to worst case scenarios and reflect actual changes in the diagnostic pathway being seen in the NHS, as of March 16, 2020, and estimated the impact on net survival at 1, 3, and 5 years after diagnosis to calculate the additional deaths that can be attributed to cancer, and the total years of life lost (YLLs) compared with pre-pandemic data. Findings We collected data for 32 583 patients with breast cancer, 24 975 with colorectal cancer, 6744 with oesophageal cancer, and 29 305 with lung cancer. Across the three different scenarios, compared with pre-pandemic figures, we estimate a 7·9–9·6% increase in the number of deaths due to breast cancer up to year 5 after diagnosis, corresponding to between 281 (95% CI 266–295) and 344 (329–358) additional deaths. For colorectal cancer, we estimate 1445 (1392–1591) to 1563 (1534–1592) additional deaths, a 15·3–16·6% increase; for lung cancer, 1235 (1220–1254) to 1372 (1343–1401) additional deaths, a 4·8–5·3% increase; and for oesophageal cancer, 330 (324–335) to 342 (336–348) additional deaths, 5·8–6·0% increase up to 5 years after diagnosis. For these four tumour types, these data correspond with 3291–3621 additional deaths across the scenarios within 5 years. The total additional YLLs across these cancers is estimated to be 59 204–63 229 years. Interpretation Substantial increases in the number of avoidable cancer deaths in England are to be expected as a result of diagnostic delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK. Urgent policy interventions are necessary, particularly the need to manage the backlog within routine diagnostic services to mitigate the expected impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients with cancer. Funding UK Research and Innovation Economic and Social Research Council.
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            SARS-CoV-2 routes of transmission and recommendations for preventing acquisition: joint British Infection Association (BIA), Healthcare Infection Society (HIS), Infection Prevention Society (IPS) and Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath) guidance.

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              Impact of National Lockdown on the Hyperacute Stroke Care and Rapid Transient Ischaemic Attack Outpatient Service in a Comprehensive Tertiary Stroke Centre During the COVID-19 Pandemic

              Background: The COVID-19 pandemic is having major implications for stroke services worldwide. We aimed to study the impact of the national lockdown period during the COVID-19 outbreak on stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA) care in London, UK. Methods: We retrospectively analyzed data from a quality improvement registry of consecutive patients presenting with acute ischemic stroke and TIA to the Stroke Department, Imperial College Health Care Trust London during the national lockdown period (between March 23rd and 30th June 2020). As controls, we evaluated the clinical reports and stroke quality metrics of patients presenting with stroke or TIA in the same period of 2019. Results: Between March 23rd and 30th June 2020, we documented a fall in the number of stroke admissions by 31.33% and of TIA outpatient referrals by 24.44% compared to the same period in 2019. During the lockdown, we observed a significant increase in symptom onset-to-door time in patients presenting with stroke (median = 240 vs. 160 min, p = 0.020) and TIA (median = 3 vs. 0 days, p = 0.002) and a significant reduction in the total number of patients thrombolysed [27 (11.49%) vs. 46 (16.25%, p = 0.030)]. Patients in the 2020 cohort presented with a lower median pre-stroke mRS (p = 0.015), but an increased NIHSS (p = 0.002). We registered a marked decrease in mimic diagnoses compared to the same period of 2019. Statistically significant differences were found between the COVID and pre-COVID cohorts in the time from onset to door (median 99 vs. 88 min, p = 0.026) and from onset to needle (median 148 vs. 126 min, p = 0.036) for thrombolysis whilst we did not observe any significant delay to reperfusion therapies (door-to-needle and door-to-groin puncture time). Conclusions: National lockdown in the UK due to the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with a significant decrease in acute stroke admission and TIA evaluations at our stroke center. Moreover, a lower proportion of acute stroke patients in the pandemic cohort benefited from reperfusion therapy. Further research is needed to evaluate the long-term effects of the pandemic on stroke care.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Hosp Infect
                J Hosp Infect
                The Journal of Hospital Infection
                The Healthcare Infection Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
                0195-6701
                1532-2939
                13 May 2021
                13 May 2021
                Affiliations
                [1 ]University Medicine Greifswald, Institute for Hygiene and Environmental Medicine, Ferdinand-Sauerbruch-Strasse, 17475 Greifswald, Germany
                [2 ]University of Lausanne, Department of Philosophy, Anthropole 5080.2 (UNIL-Chamberonne), 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
                Author notes
                []Corresponding author.
                Article
                S0195-6701(21)00204-8
                10.1016/j.jhin.2021.05.001
                8117538
                301d3f1b-c612-4bdf-9c15-fedd232ac546
                © 2021 The Healthcare Infection Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

                Since January 2020 Elsevier has created a COVID-19 resource centre with free information in English and Mandarin on the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The COVID-19 resource centre is hosted on Elsevier Connect, the company's public news and information website. Elsevier hereby grants permission to make all its COVID-19-related research that is available on the COVID-19 resource centre - including this research content - immediately available in PubMed Central and other publicly funded repositories, such as the WHO COVID database with rights for unrestricted research re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for free by Elsevier for as long as the COVID-19 resource centre remains active.

                Categories
                Letter to the Editor

                Infectious disease & Microbiology
                Infectious disease & Microbiology

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