Partial measures compromise effectiveness of efforts to combat COVID-19

May 19, 2020

IBARAKI, Japan--Comprehensive implementation of COVID-19 infection prevention measures boosts their effectiveness, while partial implementation compromises it. These are the findings from a study led by Prof. Setsuya Kurahashi at the Faculty of Business Sciences, University of Tsukuba.

The team developed an agent-based computer model to estimate the effects of staggered commuting times, telecommuting, school closures, social distancing, self-isolation, and the various other measures being used in an effort to halt the spread of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. Simulations conducted using this model showed that implementing measures either individually or in partial combinations yields limited results. The findings provide hints for estimating the combinations of measures most effective in preventing the spread of infection.

As governments, local authorities, research institutions, and the media all present a multitude of measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 such as washing and disinfecting hands, wearing masks, avoiding the "three Cs" (closed spaces, crowded places, close-contact settings), self-isolating, telecommuting, staggered commuting times, videoconferencing, and school closures, the lack of hard data makes comprehensive estimation of effectiveness difficult. This study seeks to fill that gap by modeling the COVID-19 infection process in a range of scenarios involving different behaviors.

The model compared the effectiveness of different measures against the COVID-19 infection process on the populations, workplaces, and schools of two virtual "towns." The residents were exposed to the risk of infection through commuting to work and school, and visiting shops and other everyday places. Hospitalizations, deaths, and infection speeds were simulated across 27 combinations of preventive measures, including no measures at all, basic measures only, combinations of basic measures, and combining basic measures with reduced contact with other people.

Combinations that incorporated telecommuting, school closures, and stay-home measures suggested the greatest efficacy, while measures implemented alone or in partial combinations did not result in any drop in hospitalization numbers, and were not effective as infection prevention measures. Moreover, in all of the permutations covered, elderly people made up a far greater proportion of those hospitalized and critically ill, thus indicating that preventing infection among the elderly may lead to fewer hospitalizations and deaths overall. However, any chink in the armor was enough to compromise effectiveness in these models, and the risk of infection remained high.

In addition, the model used in this study has already provided insights regarding other factors in the spread of COVID-19, including the effects of events where crowds gather (conclusion: the type of event has a greater effect than the scale), the effects of increased PCR testing (more testing of those who may be infected may help inhibit infection), and the effects of lockdowns and their durations (late and incomplete lockdowns resulted in recurrences of COVID-19).

The team is hopeful that these studies will help speed up the discovery of the most effective measures for combatting COVID-19.

University of Tsukuba

Related Infection Articles from Brightsurf:

Halving the risk of infection following surgery
New analysis by the University of Leeds and the University of Bern of more than 14,000 operations has found that using alcoholic chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) halves the risk of infection in certain types of surgery when compared to the more commonly used povidone-iodine (PVI).

How plants shut the door on infection
A new study by an international team including University of Maryland scientists has discovered the key calcium channel responsible for closing plant pores as an immune response to pathogen exposure.

Sensing infection, suppressing regeneration
UIC researchers describe an enzyme that blocks the ability of blood vessel cells to self-heal.

Boost to lung immunity following infection
The strength of the immune system in response to respiratory infections is constantly changing, depending on the history of previous, unrelated infections, according to new research from the Crick.

Is infection after surgery associated with increased long-term risk of infection, death?
Whether experiencing an infection within the first 30 days after surgery is associated with an increased risk of another infection and death within one year was the focus of this observational study that included about 660,000 veterans who underwent major surgery.

Revealed: How E. coli knows how to cause the worst possible infection
The discovery could one day let doctors prevent the infection by allowing E. coli to pass harmlessly through the body.

UK study shows most patients with suspected urinary tract infection and treated with antibiotics actually lack evidence of this infection
New research presented at this week's European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) in Amsterdam, Netherlands (April 13-16, 2019) shows that only one third of patients that enter the emergency department with suspected urinary tract infection (UTI) actually have evidence of this infection, yet almost all are treated with antibiotics, unnecessarily driving the emergence of antimicrobial resistance.

Bacteria in urine doesn't always indicate infection
Doctors should think carefully before testing patients for a urinary tract infection (UTI) to avoid over-diagnosis and unnecessary antibiotic treatment, according to updated asymptomatic bacteriuria (ASB) guidelines released by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Subsidies for infection control to healthcare institutions help reduce infection levels
Researchers compared three types of infection control subsidies and found that under a limited budget, a dollar-for-dollar matching subsidy, in which policymakers match hospital spending for infection control measures, was the most effective at reducing the number of hospital-acquired infections.

Dengue virus infection may cause severe outcomes following Zika virus infection during pregnancy
This study is the first to report a possible mechanism for the enhancement of Zika virus progression during pregnancy in an animal model.

Read More: Infection News and Infection Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to