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      Residential context and COVID-19 mortality among adults aged 70 years and older in Stockholm: a population-based, observational study using individual-level data

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          Abstract

          Background

          Housing characteristics and neighbourhood context are considered risk factors for COVID-19 mortality among older adults. The aim of this study was to investigate how individual-level housing and neighbourhood characteristics are associated with COVID-19 mortality in older adults.

          Methods

          For this population-based, observational study, we used data from the cause-of-death register held by the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare to identify recorded COVID-19 mortality and mortality from other causes among individuals (aged ≥70 years) in Stockholm county, Sweden, between March 12 and May 8, 2020. This information was linked to population-register data from December, 2019, including socioeconomic, demographic, and residential characteristics. We ran Cox proportional hazards regressions for the risk of dying from COVID-19 and from all other causes. The independent variables were area (m 2) per individual in the household, the age structure of the household, type of housing, confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the borough, and neighbourhood population density. All models were adjusted for individual age, sex, country of birth, income, and education.

          Findings

          Of 279 961 individuals identified to be aged 70 years or older on March 12, 2020, and residing in Stockholm in December, 2019, 274 712 met the eligibility criteria and were included in the study population. Between March 12 and May 8, 2020, 3386 deaths occurred, of which 1301 were reported as COVID-19 deaths. In fully adjusted models, household and neighbourhood characteristics were independently associated with COVID-19 mortality among older adults. Compared with living in a household with individuals aged 66 years or older, living with someone of working age (<66 years) was associated with increased COVID-19 mortality (hazard ratio 1·6; 95% CI 1·3–2·0). Living in a care home was associated with an increased risk of COVID-19 mortality (4·1; 3·5–4·9) compared with living in independent housing. Living in neighbourhoods with the highest population density (≥5000 individuals per km 2) was associated with higher COVID-19 mortality (1·7; 1·1–2·4) compared with living in the least densely populated neighbourhoods (0 to <150 individuals per km 2).

          Interpretation

          Close exposure to working-age household members and neighbours is associated with increased COVID-19 mortality among older adults. Similarly, living in a care home is associated with increased mortality, potentially through exposure to visitors and care workers, but also due to poor underlying health among care-home residents. These factors should be considered when developing strategies to protect this group.

          Funding

          Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (FORTE), Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences.

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          Most cited references 22

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          The effect of control strategies to reduce social mixing on outcomes of the COVID-19 epidemic in Wuhan, China: a modelling study

          Summary Background In December, 2019, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a novel coronavirus, emerged in Wuhan, China. Since then, the city of Wuhan has taken unprecedented measures in response to the outbreak, including extended school and workplace closures. We aimed to estimate the effects of physical distancing measures on the progression of the COVID-19 epidemic, hoping to provide some insights for the rest of the world. Methods To examine how changes in population mixing have affected outbreak progression in Wuhan, we used synthetic location-specific contact patterns in Wuhan and adapted these in the presence of school closures, extended workplace closures, and a reduction in mixing in the general community. Using these matrices and the latest estimates of the epidemiological parameters of the Wuhan outbreak, we simulated the ongoing trajectory of an outbreak in Wuhan using an age-structured susceptible-exposed-infected-removed (SEIR) model for several physical distancing measures. We fitted the latest estimates of epidemic parameters from a transmission model to data on local and internationally exported cases from Wuhan in an age-structured epidemic framework and investigated the age distribution of cases. We also simulated lifting of the control measures by allowing people to return to work in a phased-in way and looked at the effects of returning to work at different stages of the underlying outbreak (at the beginning of March or April). Findings Our projections show that physical distancing measures were most effective if the staggered return to work was at the beginning of April; this reduced the median number of infections by more than 92% (IQR 66–97) and 24% (13–90) in mid-2020 and end-2020, respectively. There are benefits to sustaining these measures until April in terms of delaying and reducing the height of the peak, median epidemic size at end-2020, and affording health-care systems more time to expand and respond. However, the modelled effects of physical distancing measures vary by the duration of infectiousness and the role school children have in the epidemic. Interpretation Restrictions on activities in Wuhan, if maintained until April, would probably help to delay the epidemic peak. Our projections suggest that premature and sudden lifting of interventions could lead to an earlier secondary peak, which could be flattened by relaxing the interventions gradually. However, there are limitations to our analysis, including large uncertainties around estimates of R 0 and the duration of infectiousness. Funding Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, National Institute for Health Research, Wellcome Trust, and Health Data Research UK.
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            Epidemiology of Covid-19 in a Long-Term Care Facility in King County, Washington

            Abstract Background Long-term care facilities are high-risk settings for severe outcomes from outbreaks of Covid-19, owing to both the advanced age and frequent chronic underlying health conditions of the residents and the movement of health care personnel among facilities in a region. Methods After identification on February 28, 2020, of a confirmed case of Covid-19 in a skilled nursing facility in King County, Washington, Public Health–Seattle and King County, aided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, launched a case investigation, contact tracing, quarantine of exposed persons, isolation of confirmed and suspected cases, and on-site enhancement of infection prevention and control. Results As of March 18, a total of 167 confirmed cases of Covid-19 affecting 101 residents, 50 health care personnel, and 16 visitors were found to be epidemiologically linked to the facility. Most cases among residents included respiratory illness consistent with Covid-19; however, in 7 residents no symptoms were documented. Hospitalization rates for facility residents, visitors, and staff were 54.5%, 50.0%, and 6.0%, respectively. The case fatality rate for residents was 33.7% (34 of 101). As of March 18, a total of 30 long-term care facilities with at least one confirmed case of Covid-19 had been identified in King County. Conclusions In the context of rapidly escalating Covid-19 outbreaks, proactive steps by long-term care facilities to identify and exclude potentially infected staff and visitors, actively monitor for potentially infected patients, and implement appropriate infection prevention and control measures are needed to prevent the introduction of Covid-19.
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              Is Open Access

              Demographic science aids in understanding the spread and fatality rates of COVID-19

              Governments around the world must rapidly mobilize and make difficult policy decisions to mitigate the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Because deaths have been concentrated at older ages, we highlight the important role of demography, particularly, how the age structure of a population may help explain differences in fatality rates across countries and how transmission unfolds. We examine the role of age structure in deaths thus far in Italy and South Korea and illustrate how the pandemic could unfold in populations with similar population sizes but different age structures, showing a dramatically higher burden of mortality in countries with older versus younger populations. This powerful interaction of demography and current age-specific mortality for COVID-19 suggests that social distancing and other policies to slow transmission should consider the age composition of local and national contexts as well as intergenerational interactions. We also call for countries to provide case and fatality data disaggregated by age and sex to improve real-time targeted forecasting of hospitalization and critical care needs.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Lancet Healthy Longev
                Lancet Healthy Longev
                The Lancet. Healthy Longevity
                The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd.
                2666-7568
                27 October 2020
                November 2020
                27 October 2020
                : 1
                : 2
                : e80-e88
                Affiliations
                [a ]The Institute for Analytical Sociology, Linköping University, Norrköping, Sweden
                [b ]Demography Unit, Department of Sociology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
                [c ]Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
                [d ]Department of Public Health Sciences, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
                [e ]Institute for Futures Studies, Stockholm, Sweden
                [f ]Department of Political and Social Sciences, European University Institute, San Domenico di Fiesole, Italy
                [g ]Centre for Health Equity Studies, Stockholm University and Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence to: Dr Maria Brandén, The Institute for Analytical Sociology, Linköping University, Norrköping 601 74, Sweden
                Article
                S2666-7568(20)30016-7
                10.1016/S2666-7568(20)30016-7
                7832817
                371725dd-ad4e-423a-9265-387fc21b4802
                © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an Open Access article under the CC BY 4.0 license

                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.

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