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Public education messages can delay the spread of COVID-19

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Attention should be paid to actions (covering the face) that civil servants now explicitly mandate or recommend to delay the proliferation of COVID-19, according to a new new study. Without proper public education, that practice can lead to more infectious diseases.

The results of this survey are JMIR Public Health and SurveillanceThis was done by a team of medical economists and public health departments at the University of Vermont’s Lerner Medical College, in collaboration with the Vermont Public Health Authority.

The study combines survey data collected from adults living in northwestern Vermont with test results showing whether a subset of them were infected with COVID-19, and is rarely used in COVID studies. This is a heavy research approach. By correlating the two datasets, researchers were able to determine what behaviors and situations increased the risk of illness for respondents.

Studies have shown that the primary risk factor driving the transmission of the disease was the number of daily contacts of participants with other adults and the elderly.

It was associated with two other discoveries.

People who wore masks had more of these daily contacts than those who did not, resulting in a higher rate of infection with the virus.

Eline van den Broek-Altenburg, assistant professor and vice-chairman of the Department of Radiology at Lerner Medical College and principal investigator of the study, said that basic human psychology may be working. Stated.

“Wearing a mask gives you a deceptive feeling of being protected and can increase your interaction with others,” she said.

The impact on public health is clear.

The message that people need to wear masks is essential, but inadequate. It should be closely related to education that the mask does not give you a free pass to meet as many people as you want.You still need to severely limit your contacts.. “

Eline van den Broek-Altenburg, Principal Investigator, Associate Professor, Vice Professor of Radiology, Lerner Medical University

The public education message needs to clarify how to wear masks safely to limit infection, van den Broek-Altenburg added.

The study also found that the living environment of participants determined the number of contacts they had and affected their potential for infection. A higher percentage of people living in apartments were infected with the virus compared to those living in single-family homes.

“If you live in an apartment, you’ll meet more people every day than if you live in a single-family home, so you need to be wary of social distance as well,” Vandenbroucke Altemberg said. Mr. says.

This study managed the profession to prevent key workers who, by definition, had more contact and would normally need to wear a mask to distort the results.

“It is generally known that key workers are at high risk, and our research confirms that,” Vandenbroke Altenberg said. “We wanted to see what else was predicted that people would get sick,” she said.

Only one-fifth of the total possible cases were reported in Chittenden County, Vermont.

This study provides initial estimates of unreported cases in Chittenden County, Vermont, where most study participants live. The study found that 2.2% of the study group was infected with the virus, and an estimated 3,621 residents of Chittenden County could be ill, compared to the 662 cases reported (18%). It was suggested that the sex was high.

This figure corresponds to a 1.2% hospitalization rate and a 0.55% adjusted case fatality rate.

This finding is important for policy makers, Vandenbroucke-Altemberg said inside and outside Vermont.

“Knowing how many people are sick or sick is far more ready to predict what will happen in the future and develop appropriate policies,” she said.

It also demonstrates the importance of serological and PCR testing in the general population, she said.

“If we test only symptomatic patients, we don’t know how many people are already infected with the virus. In our random sample study, Vermont has tested less than one-fifth so far. We were able to show that people who may have been infected with the virus. To capture a larger population, we need a random sample of the population, which results in the majority of COVID-19 cases. It can also capture asymptomatic patients who appear to be. “

This study is, among other things, a proof of concept, says van den Broek-Altenburg.

“We hope that it will lead to other larger studies that combine survey data with extensive testing. This approach is essential for understanding the dynamics of this pandemic and planning for future pandemics. . “

Of the 454 survey respondents who underwent serological testing, 10 had antibodies to Covid-19 and 1 was positive for the virus. Due to the small number, researchers were able to simplify the model and reach high levels of confidence in two important findings.

“We tested the model and found that the results were robust through several different model specifications,” said van den Broek-Altenburg.

To create a research group, researchers randomly selected from 18 to 70 years of age who visited primary care at least once at the University of Vermont Medical Center, which serves primarily northwestern Vermont over the past three years. The survey was sent to 12,000 people.

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