Dynamics of the COVID-19 epidemic in Ireland under mitigation

Cazelles, B. and Nguyen-Van-Yen, B. and Champagne, C. and Comiskey, C.. (2021) Dynamics of the COVID-19 epidemic in Ireland under mitigation. BMC Infect Dis, 21. p. 735.

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BACKGROUND: In Ireland and across the European Union the COVID-19 epidemic waves, driven mainly by the emergence of new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 have continued their course, despite various interventions from governments. Public health interventions continue in their attempts to control the spread as they wait for the planned significant effect of vaccination. METHODS: To tackle this challenge and the observed non-stationary aspect of the epidemic we used a modified SEIR stochastic model with time-varying parameters, following Brownian process. This enabled us to reconstruct the temporal evolution of the transmission rate of COVID-19 with the non-specific hypothesis that it follows a basic stochastic process constrained by the available data. This model is coupled with Bayesian inference (particle Markov Chain Monte Carlo method) for parameter estimation and utilized mainly well-documented Irish hospital data. RESULTS: In Ireland, mitigation measures provided a 78-86% reduction in transmission during the first wave between March and May 2020. For the second wave in October 2020, our reduction estimation was around 20% while it was 70% for the third wave in January 2021. This third wave was partly due to the UK variant appearing in Ireland. In June 2020 we estimated that sero-prevalence was 2.0% (95% CI: 1.2-3.5%) in complete accordance with a sero-prevalence survey. By the end of April 2021, the sero-prevalence was greater than 17% due in part to the vaccination campaign. Finally we demonstrate that the available observed confirmed cases are not reliable for analysis owing to the fact that their reporting rate has as expected greatly evolved. CONCLUSION: We provide the first estimations of the dynamics of the COVID-19 epidemic in Ireland and its key parameters. We also quantify the effects of mitigation measures on the virus transmission during and after mitigation for the three waves. Our results demonstrate that Ireland has significantly reduced transmission by employing mitigation measures, physical distancing and lockdown. This has to date avoided the saturation of healthcare infrastructures, flattened the epidemic curve and likely reduced mortality. However, as we await for a full roll out of a vaccination programme and as new variants potentially more transmissible and/or more infectious could continue to emerge and mitigation measures change silent transmission, challenges remain.
Faculties and Departments:09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH)
09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH) > Health Interventions > Analytics and Intervention Modelling (Pothin)
UniBasel Contributors:Champagne, Clara
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
ISSN:1471-2334 (Electronic)1471-2334 (Linking)
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:21 Dec 2022 14:53
Deposited On:21 Dec 2022 14:53

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