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Trending Papers in epidemiology

Dengue fever may provide some immunity to COVID-19
From Paper: How super-spreader cities, highways, hospital bed availability, and dengue fever influenced the COVID-19 epidemic in Brazil
Published: Sep 2020
  • The inverse correlation between COVID-19 and dengue fever was further observed in a sample of countries around Asia and Latin America, as well as in islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans
  • The authors identified negative correlations between COVID-19's incidence, infection growth rate, and mortality to the percentage of people with antibody (IgM) levels for dengue fever in each of the country's states
Submitted by Will McBurnie
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Low to moderate alcohol drinking is associated with better cognition in older age than complete abstinence from alcohol
From Paper: Association of Low to Moderate Alcohol Drinking With Cognitive Functions From Middle to Older Age Among US Adults
Published: Jun 2020
  • Weekly alcohol consumption had U-shaped relationships with the cognitive functions assessed, with the strongest associations with better cognitive functions at a dosage of 10 to 14 drinks per week for all participants
  • Low to moderate drinking was associated with consistently high cognitive function trajectories. Cognitive test scores at the baseline middle-aged assessment were relatively high and remained high at each subsequent assessment. In addition, there was a decreased rate of cognitive decline with age for middle-aged or older US adults for low to moderate drinkers
Submitted by Patrick Joyce
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People with low vitamin D levels are more likely to test positive for SARS-COV-2 infection
From Paper: SARS-CoV-2 positivity rates associated with circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels
Published: Sep 2020
  • These results provide further rationale to explore the role of vitamin D supplementation in reducing the risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 disease
  • The SARS-CoV-2 positivity rate was higher in the 39,190 patients with “deficient” 25(OH)D values (<20 ng/mL) (12.5%, 95% C.I. 12.2–12.8%) than in the 27,870 patients with “adequate” values (30–34 ng/mL) (8.1%, 95% C.I. 7.8–8.4%) and the 12,321 patients with values ≥55 ng/mL (5.9%, 95% C.I. 5.5–6.4%)
Submitted by Patrick Joyce
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Increased expression of TMPRSS2 in the upper respiratory tract may help explain why the incidence of COVID-19 among African-Americans is 2-3x the U.S. average
From Paper: Racial/Ethnic Variation in Nasal Gene Expression of Transmembrane Serine Protease 2 (TMPRSS2)
Published: Sep 2020
  • Given the essential role of TMPRSS2 in SARS-CoV-2 entry, higher nasal expression of TMPRSS2 may contribute to the higher burden of COVID-19 among Black individuals
  • TMPRSS2 expression was significantly higher in Black individuals compared with Asian, Latino, mixed race/ethnicity, and White individuals
Submitted by Patrick Joyce
Playing football for over 10 years in the NFL is associated with an increased mortality risk
From Paper: Mortality risk factors among National Football League players: An analysis using player career data
Published: Sep 2020
  • This paper finds evidence of both player health risk for increasing NFL seasons played and a survivorship bias among NFL players
  • The authors acknowledge a possible survivorship bias among players of Category I and II
Submitted by Patrick Joyce
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It is possible that people who wear a mask when infected with COVID-19 experience less severe symptoms
From Paper: Facial Masking for Covid-19 — Potential for “Variolation” as We Await a Vaccine
Monica Gandhi, George W. Rutherford
Published: Sep 2020
  • The typical rate of asymptomatic infection with SARS-CoV-2 was estimated to be 40% by the CDC in mid-July, but asymptomatic infection rates are reported to be higher than 80% in settings with universal facial masking, which provides observational evidence for this hypothesis
  • Recent data from Boston demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 infections decreased among health care workers after universal masking was implemented in municipal hospitals in late March
Submitted by Patrick Joyce
Patients with severe vitamin D deficiency had a significantly higher COVID-19 mortality risk
From Paper: Vitamin D deficiency as a predictor of poor prognosis in patients with acute respiratory failure due to COVID-19
Published: Aug 2020
  • 10 days of hospitalization, severe vitamin D deficiency patients had a 50% mortality probability, while those with vitamin D ≥ 10 ng/mL had a 5% mortality risk
  • 81% of ARDS patients had hypovitaminosis D
Submitted by Patrick Joyce
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Wrong person, place and time: viral load and contact network structure predict SARS-CoV-2 transmission and super-spreading events
  • SARS-CoV-2 super-spreader events with over 10 secondary infections occur when an infected person is briefly shedding at a very high viral load and has a high concurrent number of exposed contacts
  • This study contains mathematical models of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza which link observed viral shedding patterns with key epidemiologic features of each virus
Submitted by Patrick Joyce
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Fast, cheap tests could enable safer reopening
  • Identifying and isolating infected individuals more quickly would slow the virus' spread, which is key to safely reopening schools, factories, and offices.
  • Epidemiologists are calling for a radical shift in testing strategy: away from diagnosing people who have symptoms or were exposed and toward screening whole populations using faster, cheaper, sometimes less accurate tests.
Submitted by Patrick Joyce
An Examination of School Reopening Strategies during the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic led to the closure of nearly all K-12 schools in the United States of America in March 2020. Although reopening K-12 schools for in-person schooling is desirable for many reasons, officials also understand that risk reduction strategies and detection of cases must be in place to allow children to safely return to school. Furthermore, the consequences of reclosing recently reopened schools are substantial and impact teachers, parents, and ultimately the educational experience in children. Using a stratified Susceptible-Exposed-Infected-Removed model, we explore the influences of reduced class density, transmission mitigation (such as the use of masks, desk shields, frequent surface cleaning, or outdoor instruction), and viral detection on cumulative prevalence. Our model predicts that a combination of all three approaches will substantially reduce SARS-CoV-2 prevalence. The model also shows that reduction of class density and the implementation of rapid viral testing, even with imperfect detection, have greater impact than moderate measures for transmission mitigation.
Submitted by Patrick Joyce
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