(Press-News.org) CLEVELAND--The combined effectiveness of three COVID-prevention strategies on college campuses--mask-wearing, social distancing, and routine testing--are as effective in preventing coronavirus infections as the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to a new study co-authored by a Case Western Reserve University researcher.
The research, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, has immediate significance as college semesters are poised to start again--and as the distribution of approved vaccines lags behind goals.
The study found that a combination of just two common measures--distancing and mandatory masks--prevents 87% of campus COVID-19 infections and costs only $170 per infection prevented.
Adding routine lab-based testing to the mix would prevent 92% to 96% of COVID infections. Still, the cost per infection prevented increases substantially, to $2,000 to $17,000 each, depending on test frequency.
As the infection rate continues to rise during the winter, the findings are especially meaningful for institutions of higher learning aiming to strike a balance between in-person and remote instruction, while managing costs to promote safety and reduce transmissions.
"While some measures are highly effective, implementing them is entirely up to each college's financial situation, which may have already become strained because of the pandemic," said Pooyan Kazemian, co-senior author of the study and an assistant professor of operations at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve.
"It is clear that two common non-medical strategies are very effective and inexpensive--and allow for some in-person instruction," said Kazemian. "While it's true routine testing of the asymptomatic helps catch some infections early and reduce transmissions, they also pose the highest financial and operational burden, even if performed every 14 days."
Among the study's other findings:
About three of every four students--and nearly one in six faculty--would become infected over the semester in the absence of all mitigation efforts. Minimal social distancing policies would only reduce infections by 16% in students.
While closing the campus and switching to online-only education would reduce infections by 63% among students, it would be less effective than opening the campus and implementing a mask-wearing and social distancing policy, which would reduce infections by 87% among students.
Researchers examined 24 combinations of four common preventive strategies--social distancing, mask-wearing, testing and isolation--and calculated their effectiveness and cost per infection prevented.
The team took into account interactions between three groups: students, faculty, and the surrounding community (including staff), and used a computer simulation model Kazemian and his colleagues developed--known as Clinical and Economic Analysis of COVID-19 interventions, or CEACOV--that simulated a semester of a mid-sized college (5,000 students and 1,000 faculty).
"While states have started offering COVID-19 vaccine to healthcare workers, first responders, and long-term care facilities, it is unlikely that most students and university faculty and staff will be offered a vaccine until late in the spring semester," said Kazemian. "Therefore, commitment to mask-wearing and extensive social distancing, including canceling large gatherings and reducing class sizes with a hybrid education system, remains the primary strategy for minimizing infections and keeping the campus open during the spring semester."
The study was conducted with contributors from Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston University School of Public Health, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.
New research from King's College London shows nearly half of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) staff are likely to meet the threshold for PTSD, severe anxiety or problem drinking during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Results from a study of ICU healthcare workers, published today in Occupational Medicine, shows the stark impact of working in critical care during the COVID-10 pandemic. The researchers found poor mental health was common in many ICU clinicians although they were more pronounced in nurses than in doctors or other healthcare professionals.
Lead author, Professor Neil Greenberg, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), King's College London said:
'Our results show a substantial burden of mental health symptoms being reported by ICU staff towards the end ...
As schools prepare to re-open to all pupils in February, experts warn that UK government plans for mass testing risks spreading covid-19 more widely.
Writing in The BMJ, Professor Jon Deeks and colleagues at the Royal Statistical Society argue that using the INNOVA rapid lateral flow tests to manage classroom outbreaks, without isolating close contacts, risks increasing disease spread and causing further disruption to children's education.
Before Christmas, schools limited pupil mixing and activities, and isolated pupil groups at home once a covid-19 case was identified, they explain. This year the government is relying on the INNOVA rapid lateral flow tests to mass screen staff and pupils, and test close contacts ...
Crowdsourced Responses from Dermatologists on Twitter Found to be as Effective as Formal Telemedicine
At the start of the pandemic, many doctors on the front lines turned to Twitter and other social media platforms to find guidance and solace directly from their peers. In early 2020, information on COVID-19 had yet to be studied and published in peer-reviewed journals or printed in medical textbooks. Since then, social media has been characterized as both a boon to medical communities seeking real time information and a major driver of misinformation on the virus and its spread. A new study from researchers at the ...
Mothers with multiple children report more fragmented sleep than mothers of a single child, but the number of children in a family doesn't seem to affect the quality of sleep for fathers, according to a study from McGill University.
A total of 111 parents (54 couples and 3 mothers of single-parent families) participated in the study published in the Journal of Sleep Research led by McGill doctoral student Samantha Kenny under the supervision of Marie-Hélène Pennestri, Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology.
At the start of the pandemic, many doctors on the front lines turned to Twitter and other social media platforms to find guidance and solace directly from their peers. In early 2020, information on COVID-19 had yet to be studied and published in peer-reviewed journals or printed in medical textbooks. Since then, social media has been characterized as both a boon to medical communities seeking real time information and a major driver of misinformation on the virus and its spread. A new study from researchers at the University of Paris provides support for social media as a potentially useful ...
A study of biomass burning aerosols led by University of Wyoming researchers revealed that smoke from wildfires has more of a cooling effect on the atmosphere than computer models assume.
"The study addresses the impact of wildfires on global climate, and we extensively used the NCAR-Wyoming supercomputer (Cheyenne)," says Shane Murphy, a UW associate professor of atmospheric science. "Also, the paper used observations from UW and other teams around the world to compare to the climate model results. The main conclusion of the work is that wildfire smoke is more cooling than current models assume."
Murphy was a contributing author of a paper, titled "Biomass Burning Aerosols in Most Climate Models Are Too Absorbing," that was published ...
BOSTON - New research from Boston Medical Center finds that using clear, unambiguous language when recommending HPV vaccination both increases vaccine acceptance and increases conversation efficiency while preserving patient satisfaction. Published in Vaccine, the new research findings show that adolescents are nine times more likely to receive a vaccine when providers introduce the topic to parents with a simple statement like "your child is due for vaccines today." It also results in a shorter vaccine discussion.
In this study, the acceptance of the HPV vaccine and the meningococcal vaccine were compared. The indicated ...
A recent statewide survey of Californians uncovered that 30% of Black adults and 13% of Hispanic adults felt that they have been judged or treated differently by a health care provider because of their race/ethnicity or language. One out of six Black and Latino Californians were more likely to report strong mistrust of their health care providers. Researchers at the Charles R. Drew University in Los Angeles analyzed data from more than 2,300 White, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic Black adults who asked to report on perceived discrimination due to race, ethnicity, language, income, and insurance status or type. Black and Hispanic adults reported higher rates ...
Traditional gendered patterns of child care persisted during the COVID-19 shutdown, with more than a third of couples relying on women to provide most or all of it, according to a study from University of Georgia researcher Kristen Shockley.
Some previous research has found that typical familial patterns may get upended during crises, but that's not what Shockley and her colleagues found in the early months of the COVID-19 shutdown.
"Most people have never undergone anything like this before, where all of a sudden they can't rely on their normal child care, and most people's work situation ...
North Carolina did not expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act, which continued to put many low-income women at risk for losing health care coverage post partum. The state did comply with ACA standards for simplifying Medicaid enrollment, automating the process and removing a stringent and often cumbersome financial assessment process. Analysis from researchers at Duke University found that these reforms enabled more low-income women to qualify for full Medicaid and reduced the number of women who instead qualified for more limited benefits under the state's ...