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      Modelling the impact of shutdowns on resurging SARS-CoV-2 transmission in Canada

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          Abstract

          Background: Shutdowns are enacted when alternative public health measures are insufficient to control the epidemic and the population is largely susceptible. An age-stratified agent-based model was developed to explore the impact of shutdowns to control SARS-CoV-2 transmission in Canada under the assumption that current efforts to control the epidemic remains insufficient and in the absence of a vaccine. Methods: We estimated the current levels of interventions in Canada to generate a baseline scenario from 7 February to 7 September 2020. Four aspects of shutdowns were explored in scenarios that ran from 8 September 2020 to 7 January 2022, these included the impact of how quickly shutdowns are implemented, the duration of shutdowns, the minimum break (delays) between shutdowns and the types of sectors to shutdown. Comparisons among scenarios were made using cases, hospitalizations, deaths and shutdown days during the 700-day model runs. Results: We found a negative relationship between reducing SARS-CoV-2 transmission and the number of shutdown days. However, we also found that for shutdowns to be optimally effective, they need to be implemented fast with minimal delay, initiated when community transmission is low, sustained for an adequate period and be stringent and target multiple sectors, particularly those driving transmission. By applying shutdowns in this manner, the total number of shutdown days could be reduced compared to delaying the shutdowns until further into the epidemic when transmission is higher and/or implementing short insufficient shutdowns that would require frequent re-implementation. This paper contrasts a range of shutdown strategies and trade-offs between health outcomes and economic metrics that need to be considered within the local context. Interpretation: Given the immense socioeconomic impact of shutdowns, they should be avoided where possible and used only when other public health measures are insufficient to control the epidemic. If used, the time it buys to delay the epidemic should be used to enhance other equally effective, but less disruptive, public health measures.

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          Most cited references 9

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          Estimating the effects of non-pharmaceutical interventions on COVID-19 in Europe

          Following the detection of the new coronavirus1 severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and its spread outside of China, Europe has experienced large epidemics of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In response, many European countries have implemented non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as the closure of schools and national lockdowns. Here we study the effect of major interventions across 11 European countries for the period from the start of the COVID-19 epidemics in February 2020 until 4 May 2020, when lockdowns started to be lifted. Our model calculates backwards from observed deaths to estimate transmission that occurred several weeks previously, allowing for the time lag between infection and death. We use partial pooling of information between countries, with both individual and shared effects on the time-varying reproduction number (Rt). Pooling allows for more information to be used, helps to overcome idiosyncrasies in the data and enables more-timely estimates. Our model relies on fixed estimates of some epidemiological parameters (such as the infection fatality rate), does not include importation or subnational variation and assumes that changes in Rt are an immediate response to interventions rather than gradual changes in behaviour. Amidst the ongoing pandemic, we rely on death data that are incomplete, show systematic biases in reporting and are subject to future consolidation. We estimate that-for all of the countries we consider here-current interventions have been sufficient to drive Rt below 1 (probability Rt < 1.0 is greater than 99%) and achieve control of the epidemic. We estimate that across all 11 countries combined, between 12 and 15 million individuals were infected with SARS-CoV-2 up to 4 May 2020, representing between 3.2% and 4.0% of the population. Our results show that major non-pharmaceutical interventions-and lockdowns in particular-have had a large effect on reducing transmission. Continued intervention should be considered to keep transmission of SARS-CoV-2 under control.
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            COVID-19 pandemic and mental health consequences: systematic review of the current evidence

            Highlights • COVID-19 patients displayed high levels of PTSS and increased levels of depression. • Patients with preexisting psychiatric disorders reported worsening of psychiatric symptoms. • Higher levels of psychiatric symptoms were found among health care workers. • A decrease in psychological well-being was observed in the general public. • However, well conducted large-scale studies are highly needed.
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              The effect of large-scale anti-contagion policies on the COVID-19 pandemic

              Governments around the world are responding to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic1, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), with unprecedented policies designed to slow the growth rate of infections. Many policies, such as closing schools and restricting populations to their homes, impose large and visible costs on society; however, their benefits cannot be directly observed and are currently understood only through process-based simulations2-4. Here we compile data on 1,700 local, regional and national non-pharmaceutical interventions that were deployed in the ongoing pandemic across localities in China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, France and the United States. We then apply reduced-form econometric methods, commonly used to measure the effect of policies on economic growth5,6, to empirically evaluate the effect that these anti-contagion policies have had on the growth rate of infections. In the absence of policy actions, we estimate that early infections of COVID-19 exhibit exponential growth rates of approximately 38% per day. We find that anti-contagion policies have significantly and substantially slowed this growth. Some policies have different effects on different populations, but we obtain consistent evidence that the policy packages that were deployed to reduce the rate of transmission achieved large, beneficial and measurable health outcomes. We estimate that across these 6 countries, interventions prevented or delayed on the order of 61 million confirmed cases, corresponding to averting approximately 495 million total infections. These findings may help to inform decisions regarding whether or when these policies should be deployed, intensified or lifted, and they can support policy-making in the more than 180 other countries in which COVID-19 has been reported7.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                R Soc Open Sci
                RSOS
                royopensci
                Royal Society Open Science
                The Royal Society
                2054-5703
                May 12, 2021
                May 2021
                May 12, 2021
                : 8
                : 5
                Affiliations
                Public Health Risk Sciences Division, National Microbiology Laboratory, Public Health Agency of Canada, , Guelph, Ontario and St Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada
                Author notes

                Electronic supplementary material is available online at https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.5418133.

                Article
                rsos210233
                10.1098/rsos.210233
                8190545
                © 2021 The Authors.

                Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.

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