- Research used data from more than 100 countries to analyse the outcome of COVID-19 responses to different control measures
- The study found COVID-19 deaths could be reduced by the early initiation of preventative measures and by the provision of increased medical personnel and hospital beds
- The findings could be useful in developing a control strategy in COVID-19 and other pandemics
A range of measures have been implemented by governments to control the COVID-19 pandemic, but these need to be assessed to evaluate their value in containing the situation and answer the question, what works best?
A Charles Sturt University research project, led by Associate Professor Azizur Rahman (pictured), leader of the Statistics and Data Mining Research Group in the Charles Sturt School of Computing and Mathematics, aimed to find out.
Professor Rahman was the senior researcher in the collaborative team and supervised the study, ‘Effect of preventive actions and health care factors in controlling the outbreaks of COVID-19 pandemic’.
“We believe that this study could be useful in developing a control strategy in COVID-19, as well as in future pandemics,” Professor Rahman said.
“With the surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, a large number of people died worldwide in the past several months, and continue to die, and the situation is ongoing with increasing health, social and economic panic and vulnerability.
“Due to the lack of effective drugs, including vaccines and prophylaxis against COVID-19, most countries are now relying on maintaining social distance and hand washing as principal preventative actions.
“However, social distancing can create a global socio-economic crisis – for example, due to suspension of inter-regional and international travel and tourism − and psychological disorders, so there is a need to assess these control measurement to evaluate their value in containing the situation.”
Professor Rahman and his colleagues’ research used data from more than 100 countries and analysed the outcome of COVID-19 responses to different control measures, health care facilities, and prevalent diseases.
“Based on our findings, the number of COVID-19 deaths was found to be reduced with increased medical personnel and hospital beds,” Professor Rahman said.
“Increasing the number of health-care personnel and hospital facilities is helpful for providing the essential support.
“We observed a significant correlation between the reduction of COVID-19 cases and the early initiation of preventative measures, so preventative actions could be useful, if taken early, in controlling the pandemic, as was the case in Australia.
“We found the case fatality rate (CFR) of COVID-19 was substantially lower in countries with higher life expectancy.
“As a result, enhancing health care facilities, as well as promptly imposing the control measures in a short time, could be valuable to prevent the current COVID-19 pandemic.”
Professor Rahman said no significant association was found between COVID-19 and comorbidities excluding asthma, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and smoking.
“Interestingly, we found no association between the comorbidities and severity of COVID-19 except for few diseases including cancer, which warranted further investigation at the patho-biological level,” he said.
Notably, countries including Gambia, Nicaragua, Burundi, Namibia, and Nepal, have a marked rise in their state of danger with rapidly increasing prevalence of deaths and risk of social unrest, as was the case in Turkey and now in Brazil.
“The study found that the apathy of policy-makers in taking nation-wide immediate precautionary measures was identified as one of the critical reasons that made the circumstances worse.”