Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has overrun hospital systems while exacerbating economic hardship and food insecurity on a global scale. In an effort to understand how early action to find and control the virus is associated with cumulative outcomes, we explored how country-level testing capacity affects later COVID-19 mortality. Methods: We used the Our World in Data database to explore testing and mortality records in 27 countries from December 31, 2019, to September 30, 2020; we applied Cox proportional hazards regression to determine the relationship between early COVID-19 testing capacity (cumulative tests per case) and later COVID-19 mortality (time to specified mortality thresholds), adjusting for country-level confounders, including median age, GDP, hospital bed capacity, population density, and nonpharmaceutical interventions. Results: Higher early testing implementation, as indicated by more cumulative tests per case when mortality was still low, was associated with a lower risk for higher per capita deaths. A sample finding indicated that a higher cumulative number of tests administered per case at the time of six deaths per million persons was associated with a lower risk of reaching 15 deaths per million persons, after adjustment for all confounders (HR = 0.909; P = 0.0001). Conclusions: Countries that developed stronger COVID-19 testing capacity at early timepoints, as measured by tests administered per case identified, experienced a slower increase of deaths per capita. Thus, this study operationalizes the value of testing and provides empirical evidence that stronger testing capacity at early timepoints is associated with reduced mortality and improved pandemic control.

Fuente: Influenza and other respiratory viruses

Published: 14 October 2021