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Spatiotemporal analysis of the morbidity of global Omicron from November 2021 to February 2022

J Med Virol. 2022 Jul 21. doi: 10.1002/jmv.28013. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: The Omicron variant was first reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) from South Africa on 24 November 2021; this variant is spreading rapidly worldwide. No study has conducted a spatiotemporal analysis of the morbidity of Omicron infection at the country level; hence, to explore the spatial transmission of the Omicron variant among the 220 countries worldwide, we aimed to the analyze its spatial autocorrelation and to conduct a multiple linear regression in order to investigate the underlying factors associated with the pandemic.

METHODS: This study was an ecological study. Data on the number of confirmed cases were extracted from the WHO website. The spatiotemporal characteristic was described in a thematic map. The Global Moran Index (Moran’s I) was used to detect the spatial autocorrelation, while the Local Indicators of Spatial Association (LISA) were used to analyze the local spatial correlation characteristics. The joinpoint regression model was used to explore the change in the trend of the Omicron incidence over time. The association between the morbidity of Omicron and influencing factors were analyzed using multiple linear regression.

RESULTS: The value of Moran’s I was positive (Moran’s I=0.061, Z-score=3.772, P=0.007), indicating a spatial correlation of the morbidity of Omicron at the country level. From 26 November 2021 to 26 February 2022, the morbidity showed obvious spatial clustering. Hotspot clustering was observed mostly in Europe (locations in High-High category: 24). Coldspot clustering was observed mostly in Africa and Asia (locations in Low-Low category: 32). The result of joinpoint regression showed an increasing trend from December 21, 2021 to January 26, 2022. Results of the multiple linear regression analysis demonstrated that the morbidity of Omicron was strongly positively correlated with income support (coefficient=1.905, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.354 to 2.456, P<0.001) and strongly negatively correlated with close public transport (coefficient= -1.591, 95% CI: -2.461 to -0.721, P=0.001).

CONCLUSION: Omicron outbreaks exhibited spatial clustering at the country level worldwide; the countries with higher disease morbidity could impact the other countries that are surrounded by and close to it. The locations with High-High clustering category, which referred to the countries with higher disease morbidity, were mainly observed in Europe, and its adjoining country also showed high spatial clustering. The morbidity of Omicron increased from December 21, 2021 to January 26, 2022. The higher morbidity of Omicron was associated with the economic and policy interventions implemented; hence, in order to deal with the epidemic, the prevention and control measures should be strengthened in all aspects. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

PMID:35864556 | DOI:10.1002/jmv.28013

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