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Model-based evaluation of the impact of public health measures on controlling the COVID-19 pandemic in the Netherlands and Portugal

November 10 , 13:00 14:00

Speaker: Prof. Ganna Rozhnova
Affiliation: University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands
Link to MSTeam meeting

There is a consensus that mass vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 will ultimately end the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is not clear when and which control measures can be relaxed during the rollout of vaccination programmes. In this talk, I will present our recent study [1] on relaxation scenarios using an age-structured transmission model that has been fitted to age-specific seroprevalence data, hospital admissions, and projected vaccination coverage for Portugal. Our analyses suggest that the pressing need to restart socioeconomic activities could lead to new pandemic waves, and that substantial control efforts prove necessary throughout 2021. Additional waves could be prevented altogether if measures are relaxed in a step-wise manner throughout 2021. I will discuss at which point control of COVID-19 would be achieved in 2021.

In the second part of the talk, I will present our recent study [2] of the effects of school-based measures at different time points during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Netherlands. Our analyses suggest that the impact of measures reducing school-based contacts depends on the remaining opportunities to reduce non-school-based contacts. As two examples for the Netherlands, I will demonstrate that keeping schools closed after the summer holidays in 2020, in the absence of other measures, would not have prevented the second pandemic wave in autumn 2020 but closing schools in November 2020 could have helped to achieve the control of the Dutch pandemic, with unchanged non-school-based contacts.

[1] Viana J, van Dorp CH, Nunes A, Gomes MC, van Boven M, Kretzschmar ME, Veldhoen M, Rozhnova G. Controlling the pandemic during the SARS-CoV-2 vaccination rollout: a modeling study. Nature Communications. 2021; 12:3674. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-23938-8.
[2] Rozhnova G, van Dorp CH, Bruijning-Verhagen P, Bootsma MCJ, van de Wijgert JHHM, Bonten MJM, Kretzschmar ME. Model-based evaluation of school- and non-school-related measures to control the COVID-19 pandemic. Nature Communications. 2021;12(1):1614. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-21899-6.

Chairman: Prof. Jarosław W. Kłos

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