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      Evaluating the Impact of Intervention Strategies on the First Wave and Predicting the Second Wave of COVID-19 in Thailand: A Mathematical Modeling Study

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          Abstract

          Simple Summary

          The world is currently experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic, consequently, we developed a compartmental model to describe the transmission dynamic of the disease, which can reproduce the incidence of COVID-19 first wave in Thailand. Screening incoming visitors, contact tracing, and case investigation were introduced from the beginning of the pandemic, while the rapid reduction of new cases was a result of the declaration of emergency decree in March 2020. The validated model was used to quantify the impacts of these intervention strategies. The model predicted that the daily reported incidence would have reached zero by the end of June if the on-going non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) were strictly and widely implemented. Our study provides a better understanding of the first wave COVID-19 pandemic and the impacts of government interventions in a Thai setting, where data were still limited. The model further explored the use of these available interventions in the scenario analysis to control the emergence of a second wave of COVID-19 in Thailand. Continued good practice of social distancing to minimize the contact rates is still necessary while the vaccines are not fully available to all populations.

          Abstract

          Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has spread rapidly worldwide. This study aimed to assess and predict the incidence of COVID-19 in Thailand, including the preparation and evaluation of intervention strategies. An SEIR (susceptible, exposed, infected, recovered) model was implemented with model parameters estimated using the Bayesian approach. The model’s projections showed that the highest daily reported incidence of COVID-19 would be approximately 140 cases (95% credible interval, CrI: 83–170 cases) by the end of March 2020. After Thailand declared an emergency decree, the numbers of new cases and case fatalities decreased, with no new imported cases. According to the model’s predictions, the incidence would be zero at the end of June if non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) were strictly and widely implemented. These stringent NPIs reduced the effective reproductive number (Rt) to 0.73 per day (95% CrI: 0.53–0.93) during April and May. Sensitivity analysis showed that contact rate, hand washing, and face mask wearing effectiveness were the parameters that most influenced the number of reported daily new cases. Our evaluation shows that Thailand’s intervention strategies have been highly effective in mitigating disease propagation. Continuing with these strict disease prevention behaviors could minimize the risk of a new COVID-19 outbreak in Thailand.

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          Most cited references 45

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          Inference from Iterative Simulation Using Multiple Sequences

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            Nowcasting and forecasting the potential domestic and international spread of the 2019-nCoV outbreak originating in Wuhan, China: a modelling study

            Summary Background Since Dec 31, 2019, the Chinese city of Wuhan has reported an outbreak of atypical pneumonia caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Cases have been exported to other Chinese cities, as well as internationally, threatening to trigger a global outbreak. Here, we provide an estimate of the size of the epidemic in Wuhan on the basis of the number of cases exported from Wuhan to cities outside mainland China and forecast the extent of the domestic and global public health risks of epidemics, accounting for social and non-pharmaceutical prevention interventions. Methods We used data from Dec 31, 2019, to Jan 28, 2020, on the number of cases exported from Wuhan internationally (known days of symptom onset from Dec 25, 2019, to Jan 19, 2020) to infer the number of infections in Wuhan from Dec 1, 2019, to Jan 25, 2020. Cases exported domestically were then estimated. We forecasted the national and global spread of 2019-nCoV, accounting for the effect of the metropolitan-wide quarantine of Wuhan and surrounding cities, which began Jan 23–24, 2020. We used data on monthly flight bookings from the Official Aviation Guide and data on human mobility across more than 300 prefecture-level cities in mainland China from the Tencent database. Data on confirmed cases were obtained from the reports published by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Serial interval estimates were based on previous studies of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV). A susceptible-exposed-infectious-recovered metapopulation model was used to simulate the epidemics across all major cities in China. The basic reproductive number was estimated using Markov Chain Monte Carlo methods and presented using the resulting posterior mean and 95% credibile interval (CrI). Findings In our baseline scenario, we estimated that the basic reproductive number for 2019-nCoV was 2·68 (95% CrI 2·47–2·86) and that 75 815 individuals (95% CrI 37 304–130 330) have been infected in Wuhan as of Jan 25, 2020. The epidemic doubling time was 6·4 days (95% CrI 5·8–7·1). We estimated that in the baseline scenario, Chongqing, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen had imported 461 (95% CrI 227–805), 113 (57–193), 98 (49–168), 111 (56–191), and 80 (40–139) infections from Wuhan, respectively. If the transmissibility of 2019-nCoV were similar everywhere domestically and over time, we inferred that epidemics are already growing exponentially in multiple major cities of China with a lag time behind the Wuhan outbreak of about 1–2 weeks. Interpretation Given that 2019-nCoV is no longer contained within Wuhan, other major Chinese cities are probably sustaining localised outbreaks. Large cities overseas with close transport links to China could also become outbreak epicentres, unless substantial public health interventions at both the population and personal levels are implemented immediately. Independent self-sustaining outbreaks in major cities globally could become inevitable because of substantial exportation of presymptomatic cases and in the absence of large-scale public health interventions. Preparedness plans and mitigation interventions should be readied for quick deployment globally. Funding Health and Medical Research Fund (Hong Kong, China).
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              Physical distancing, face masks, and eye protection to prevent person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis

              Summary Background Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes COVID-19 and is spread person-to-person through close contact. We aimed to investigate the effects of physical distance, face masks, and eye protection on virus transmission in health-care and non-health-care (eg, community) settings. Methods We did a systematic review and meta-analysis to investigate the optimum distance for avoiding person-to-person virus transmission and to assess the use of face masks and eye protection to prevent transmission of viruses. We obtained data for SARS-CoV-2 and the betacoronaviruses that cause severe acute respiratory syndrome, and Middle East respiratory syndrome from 21 standard WHO-specific and COVID-19-specific sources. We searched these data sources from database inception to May 3, 2020, with no restriction by language, for comparative studies and for contextual factors of acceptability, feasibility, resource use, and equity. We screened records, extracted data, and assessed risk of bias in duplicate. We did frequentist and Bayesian meta-analyses and random-effects meta-regressions. We rated the certainty of evidence according to Cochrane methods and the GRADE approach. This study is registered with PROSPERO, CRD42020177047. Findings Our search identified 172 observational studies across 16 countries and six continents, with no randomised controlled trials and 44 relevant comparative studies in health-care and non-health-care settings (n=25 697 patients). Transmission of viruses was lower with physical distancing of 1 m or more, compared with a distance of less than 1 m (n=10 736, pooled adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 0·18, 95% CI 0·09 to 0·38; risk difference [RD] −10·2%, 95% CI −11·5 to −7·5; moderate certainty); protection was increased as distance was lengthened (change in relative risk [RR] 2·02 per m; p interaction=0·041; moderate certainty). Face mask use could result in a large reduction in risk of infection (n=2647; aOR 0·15, 95% CI 0·07 to 0·34, RD −14·3%, −15·9 to −10·7; low certainty), with stronger associations with N95 or similar respirators compared with disposable surgical masks or similar (eg, reusable 12–16-layer cotton masks; p interaction=0·090; posterior probability >95%, low certainty). Eye protection also was associated with less infection (n=3713; aOR 0·22, 95% CI 0·12 to 0·39, RD −10·6%, 95% CI −12·5 to −7·7; low certainty). Unadjusted studies and subgroup and sensitivity analyses showed similar findings. Interpretation The findings of this systematic review and meta-analysis support physical distancing of 1 m or more and provide quantitative estimates for models and contact tracing to inform policy. Optimum use of face masks, respirators, and eye protection in public and health-care settings should be informed by these findings and contextual factors. Robust randomised trials are needed to better inform the evidence for these interventions, but this systematic appraisal of currently best available evidence might inform interim guidance. Funding World Health Organization.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Biology (Basel)
                Biology (Basel)
                biology
                Biology
                MDPI
                2079-7737
                22 January 2021
                February 2021
                : 10
                : 2
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Faculty of Medicine and Public Health, HRH Princess Chulabhorn College of Medical Science, Chulabhorn Royal Academy, Bangkok 10210, Thailand; wiriya.mah@ 123456cra.ac.th
                [2 ]Department of Fundamentals of Public Health, Faculty of Public Health, Burapha University, Chonburi 20131, Thailand
                [3 ]Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10400, Thailand; palang@ 123456tropmedres.ac
                [4 ]Division of Epidemiology, Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health, Nonthaburi 11000, Thailand; dr.kritchavat@ 123456gmail.com
                [5 ]Department of Tropical Hygiene, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10400, Thailand
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: pan@ 123456tropmedres.ac ; Tel.: +66-2-354-9188; Fax: +66-2-354-9169
                Article
                biology-10-00080
                10.3390/biology10020080
                7911628
                33499138
                © 2021 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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