SARS-CoV-2 Wave Two Surveillance in East Asia and the Pacific: Longitudinal Trend Analysis
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound global impact on governments, health care systems, economies, and populations around the world. Within the East Asia and Pacific region, some countries have mitigated the spread of the novel coronavirus effectively and largely avoided severe negative consequences, while others still struggle with containment As the second wave reaches East Asia and the Pacific, it becomes more evident that additional SARS-CoV-2 surveillance is needed to track recent shifts, rates of increase, and persistence associated with the pandemic. Objective: The goal of this study is to provide advanced surveillance metrics for COVID-19 transmission that account for speed, acceleration, jerk, persistence, and weekly shifts, to better understand country risk for explosive growth and those countries who are managing the pandemic successfully. Existing surveillance coupled with our dynamic metrics of transmission will inform health policy to control the COVID-19 pandemic until an effective vaccine is developed. We provide novel indicators to measure disease transmission. Methods: Using a longitudinal trend analysis study design, we extracted 330 days of COVID-19 data from public health registries. We used an empirical difference equation to measure the daily number of cases in East Asia and the Pacific as a function of the prior number of cases, the level of testing, and weekly shift variables based on a dynamic panel model that was estimated using the generalized method of moments approach by implementing the Arellano-Bond estimator in R. Results: The standard surveillance metrics for Indonesia, the Philippines, and Myanmar were concerning as they had the largest new caseloads at 4301, 2588, and 1387, respectively. When looking at the acceleration of new COVID-19 infections, we found that French Polynesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines had rates at 3.17, 0.22, and 0.06 per 100,000. These three countries also ranked highest in terms of jerk at 15.45, 0.10, and 0.04, respectively. Conclusions: Two of the most populous countries in East Asia and the Pacific, Indonesia and the Philippines, have alarming surveillance metrics. These two countries rank highest in new infections in the region. The highest rates of speed, acceleration, and positive upwards jerk belong to French Polynesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, and may result in explosive growth. While all countries in East Asia and the Pacific need to be cautious about reopening their countries since outbreaks are likely to occur in the second wave of COVID-19, the country of greatest concern is the Philippines. Based on standard and enhanced surveillance, the Philippines has not gained control of the COVID-19 epidemic, which is particularly troubling because the country ranks 4th in population in the region. Without extreme and rigid social distancing, quarantines, hygiene, and masking to reverse trends, the Philippines will remain on the global top 5 list of worst COVID-19 outbreaks resulting in high morbidity and mortality. The second wave will only exacerbate existing conditions and increase COVID-19 transmissions.
original_citation: Post LA, Lin JS, Moss CB, Murphy RL, Ison MG, Achenbach CJ, Resnick D, Singh LN, White J, Boctor MJ, Welch SB, Oehmke JF. SARS-CoV-2 Wave Two Surveillance in East Asia and the Pacific: Longitudinal Trend Analysis. Journal of Medical Internet Research. 2021;23(2):15.